CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner wasted no time in attacking each other Wednesday, just hours after winning their respective primaries.
Quinn, who easily won the Democratic primary against underfunded and lesser-known challenger Tio Hardiman on Tuesday, started his attacks even before the primary was over, buying airtime for his first TV ads as voters were still casting ballots Tuesday.
His first ad aired during the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts on all major Chicago TV stations on Tuesday, as well as a handful in Champaign.
The ad takes dead aim at the billionaire businessman’s comments in December that he supported rolling back the minimum wage in Illinois, and also showing video of him telling an audience in September that he’s “adamantly, adamantly against raising the minimum wage.”
The ad ends with a graphic asking “When you see Billionaire Bruce Rauner on TV ask yourself who is the real Bruce Rauner?”
Rauner has since changed his position, saying he’d support raising the minimum wage if it were done at the national level, or if Illinois also enacted unspecified tax and business reforms to attract more small businesses.
Quinn stuck to his guns Wednesday morning as he visited a construction site where residential developer Related Midwest has begun rehabilitating the long-vacant building at 111 W. Wacker Dr.
“This is a billionaire with nine homes, nine mansions, calling for a reduction in the minimum wage – taking $2,000 out of the pocket of everyday people who are making the minimum wage,” Quinn said.
For his own part, Rauner made the rounds on the morning news shows in Chicago. In an interview on the CBS 2 Morning News, Rauner scoffed at the Quinn campaign’s decision to launch an attack ad even before the primary was officially over.
He said Quinn’s political allies in the major labor unions have been targeting him for weeks.
“They’ve run $6 million of attack ads. Pat Quinn and his allies are scared. They’re nervous. They know that he’s vulnerable and they know that we’ve got a message that’s going to resonate with the voters. They know we can beat him in November,” he said.
Rauner blamed Quinn for the state’s stagnant unemployment numbers, the state’s budget mess, and failing schools.
“Jobs are leaving, our taxes are rising, our social services safety net has been shredded, and our schools have been defunded and thousands of children are trapped in failing schools,” Rauner said. “We are about a transformation in our state government. I’m coming in as a business guy, not a politician. I’m going to drive results. I’m going to build a fantastic team of talented people who are going to turn our state around.”
Though he has repeatedly slammed “career politicians” in Springfield, and said Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation thanks to its current and past elected officials, Rauner said he’d work with Illinois lawmakers to revitalize Illinois.
“I’m going to work very closely with the Legislature. I’ll develop a personal friendship relationship with everybody down there, and we are going to push legislation to transform our state,” he said.
Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, and other Democratic statewide candidates gathered at the Billy Goat Tavern on Wednesday in a show of unity.
Rauner, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis, and other Republicans attended a unity luncheon at the Union League Club later on Wednesday.
Unlike Quinn, Rauner also had to heal wounds opened up during a heated primary campaign.
“I don’t know if we were at each other’s throats. We pointed to some differences, now it’s about making sure we come together as Republicans,” said Bill Brady.