The Illinois Democratic primary race for governor is coming down to the finish line. On Tuesday there was a final debate among the candidates. The Chicago Tribune reported:
Leading Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker was called a “liar” and a “fraud” by two rivals as the billionaire businessman’s ties to secret offshore shell companies became the focus of the final forum of the campaign Wednesday night.
For his part, Pritzker avoided getting into specifics of his financial holdings, and claimed the offshore companies were investment instruments of family trusts established long ago and that charity was the beneficiary, not himself.
“I have no control over those trusts, the entities that are created. Just like all trusts, they make investments, so they were created by the people who control those trusts. And remember, those trusts are focused on charitable giving,” said Pritzker, who has declined to make available his complete tax returns or any returns from the trusts.
Rival Daniel Biss called Pritzker’s explanation an “unbelievable mess of word salad” in contending the Hyatt Hotel fortune heir was trying to “avoid taxes” through the offshore companies “and spent the last year lying about it.”
“This is just exposing the fraud that is the J.B. campaign for governor,” said Biss, a state senator from Evanston.
And another contender, Kenilworth developer Chris Kennedy, said voters should consider Pritzker’s words as if they were conducting a job interview for governor.
“I’ve hired a lot of people and I can tell you just one piece of advice to the voters of this state: You should never hire someone who lies to you during a job interview. If they’ll lie to you to get the job, they’ll lie to you to keep the job. And you do not want a liar as the governor of the state of Illinois,” said Kennedy, a member of the iconic Massachusetts political family.
According to the reports I’ve heard, The debate largely consisted of a shouting match with Kennedy and Biss complaining about Pritzker but with nothing much to say about the issues. Pritzker showed more gravitas (no pun intended) and talked about the issues. All three candidates are running on a platform of tax hikes and increased spending.
The Sun-Times remarked:
Each painted the picture of himself he wanted voters to see:
The true “progressive.” The one with values. And the one who can defeat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner come November.
During Wednesday night’s final televised debate before next week’s primary, billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker tried to look ahead to November while fending off his rivals’ attacks; state Sen. Daniel Biss touted his record in Springfield as proof of his progressive values; and businessman Chris Kennedy defended his statements and policy positions, while vowing to be an honest and untethered candidate.
There were no pleasantries or how-do-you-dos. The three major candidates — excluded were former Ceasefire Director Tio Hardiman, Madison County Schools Supt. Bob Daiber and Burr Ridge doctor Robert Marshall— took rapid-fire shots at each other.
“It seems to me once again you don’t know who Dan Biss really is,” Pritzker said about the senator from Evanston criticizing state House Speaker Mike Madigan — but voting for him as speaker, accepting Madigan’s money, and helping to run a super PAC for him.
Biss called the attack “bananas,” reiterating that he has worked with Democrats and will continue to work with Democrats if elected.
I’m in a quandary about whom to vote for in the primary. I like Biss’s anti-Madigan stance, belied as it is by his vote to re-elected Madigan as Illinois House Speaker but he doesn’t really represent my views; I hate political dynasties; and I think Pritzker is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. In all likelihood the race in November will be our billionaire vs. their billionaire.