Kirk Dillard

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered his sixth State of the State address Wednesday. As Brian Mackey reports, Quinn's speech was pretty much what you'd expect from a man fighting to keep his job despite some of the lowest approval ratings of any governor in America.

Quinn laid out a list of proposals that seem finely honed to appeal to Democratic voters: increasing the minimum wage, doubling a tax credit for the working poor, and requiring at least two days of sick time for all employees.


State Sen. Kirk Dillard says Gov. Pat Quinn missed the biggest issues facing Illinois during his State of the State speech.
The GOP gubernatorial candidate says Quinn used ``perfume'' to cover up Illinois' economic outlook. Dillard says Quinn's speech was a populist, re-election speech.
Dillard also criticized the governor for not addressing plans for the income
tax increase set to expire in 2015. He says the budget is a ``foot on the throat
to economic development.''

Kirk Dillard
Hannah Meisel/WUIS

All four candidates spoke with reporters after Thursday's Republican gubernatorial debate in Peoria. Here's what they had to say:

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a discussion of Thursday's debate in Peoria among the hopefuls to be the Republican candidate in the upcoming governor's race.

Statewide debate broadcast by Illinois Public Broadcasters.

The four Republican candidates for Illinois governor - State Sen. Bill Brady, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, Businessman Bruce Rauner and State Treasurer Dan Rutherford meet in advance of the primary election for this live debate. 

Hear the broadcast from January 24, 2014 involving the four candidates:  Bill Brady, Dan Rutherford, Bruce Rauner and Kirk Dillard.

Also, listen to analysis from political observers, including Institute for Government and Public Affairs Director Chris Mooney, WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky, WILL host Jim Meadows and Public TV's Jak Tichenor and H. Wayne Wilson.

The President of the Illinois State Senate - John Cullerton - says he wants to meet with the eventual Republican nominee for governor about the state’s finances.  It comes as the state’s income and corporate tax rates are scheduled to go down in a year.

The governor’s office predicts the tax decrease will create a nearly $2 billion hole in the next budget. Cullerton - a Chicago Democrat - says he’d like to hear from the Republican nominee about the state’s budget.

  The four Republicans running for governor are battling one another now ... but most say they'll put that aside after the primary.

At a debate at Chicago's Union League Club the GOP candidates for governor tried to set themselves apart on questions about transportation funding, Medicaid, and government consolidation.

But they all had the same response to the question, "Do you all individually agree to support the Republican nominee, whoever he is?"

Senator Bill Brady, Senator Kirk Dillard and Treasurer Dan Rutherford each raised their hands.


A major organized labor coalition says it plans to ``do everything possible'' to oppose Republican Bruce Rauner's bid for Illinois governor.  
The Illinois AFL-CIO announced Thursday that its board approved a resolution to engage union members to defeat the Winnetka businessman.

Amanda Vinicky

  Whether Governor Pat Quinn will have a primary opponent is still undecided. But there's one fewer candidate seeking the Republican nomination.

There's a way to win an election long before election day: get your opponent knocked off the ballot -- challenging their paperwork for not meeting the rules.

That helped clear the way for Barack Obama when he was trying to begin his political career in the Illinois Senate.


Gov. Pat Quinn is supporting his prisons director after a Republican challenger called for the director to be fired.  
 Sen. Kirk Dillard is a GOP candidate for governor. He said Wednesday that Democrat Quinn should fire S.A. ``Tony'' Godinez  for hiring a man with arrests and apparent one-time gang ties.  

Dillard says it's ``outrageous'' that ex-gang members are ``running the prisons.''  
Xadrian McCraven  was an $111,000-a-year senior policy adviser to the Department of Corrections' parole chief before he was fired Friday.  

Brian Mackey / WUIS

As we get ready to welcome 2014, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on some of the voices in the news this past year in Illinois state politics and government. People in the Capitol were busy with same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, and dozens of other issues. What follows are a few of the more memorable moments.

Gov. Pat Quinn: “This is no small issue. This is a choice about whether we will make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems."

Amanda Vinicky

  As he campaigns for re-election, Governor Pat Quinn is renewing a push for a hike in the minimum wage.

Illinois' $8.25 minimum wage bests the federal rate by a dollar.Gov. Quinn and other Democrats want to raise it higher; the governor's calling it to go up to $10.

"When we put more purchasing power in the hands of hard-working people, they're not going to admire the money in the bank vault," he says. "They're going to go out and spend that money at stores in their neighborhood, to help that consumer demand, that creates more jobs."

Sen. Bill Brady will be the first Republican listed on next spring's primary ballot for governor.
Brady won a four-way lottery Wednesday to claim the coveted ballot position.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports ( ) that Democratic
incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn will be listed second on the Democratic side behind Tio
Brady, of Bloomington, will be followed on the March 18 ballot by Treasurer Dan
Rutherford of Chenoa, Hinsdale Sen. Kirk Dillard and venture
capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka.

The four Republicans running for Illinois governor are taking diverging stances on the pension measure that's bringing the General Assembly back to Springfield tomorrow. The package drafted by the legislative leaders would cut state workers', teachers' and university employees' retirement benefits.

Whether there's enough support for the leaders' plan to pass is uncertain, but it will get Sen. Bill Brady's vote.

Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Pat Quinn has been surpassed as the nation's least-liked governor, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania's Republican Gov., Tom Corbett, can now claim that title. But the new poll shows Quinn could still have a hard time holding on to his seat.

It was about this time last year, that numbers from Public Policy Polling showed Democrat Pat Quinn as the most unpopular governor in the country.

Amanda Vinicky

  Candidates looking to run in the March primary began filing their paperwork today (11/25) with the State Board of Elections. Anyone who was in line by 8 a.m. gets a chance at the top spot on the ballot. Six men who want to be Illinois' next governor made that deadline.

Campaigns waited in a long line, despite a forecast of snow, so that they could get their petitions in. Some candidates send staffers as surrogates, including Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and one of his four Republican challengers, Bruce Rauner.

Bruce Rauner
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to rake in major contributions since he lifted Illinois' new campaign finance cap last week. While Rauner's opponents are freed from caps as well, he's the been the only one to get such major, and immediate, benefit.

State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner's campaign.

It's the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars.

Amanda Vinicky

A day after supporters of same-sex marriage rallied at the Illinois Capitol, opponents had their turn. Thousands gathered at the statehouse Wednesday, Oct. 23, urging the Illinois House to uphold traditional marriage.

The event started with a prayer led by Monsignor Carl Kemme, of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

Gov. Pat Quinn has $2.9 million in his 2014 campaign fund - more than all four of his Republican rivals combined.

Reports filed with the state late Tuesday show the Chicago Democrat raised about $813,000 during the three-month period ending Sept. 30. He has no major challenger in the March primary since Bill Daley abandoned his bid.

Four Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination.


Two former GOP Illinois governors are asking party leaders to back state Sen. Kirk Dillard in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, saying he's the only Republican who can win the general election.
Former Govs. Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson have endorsed Dillard. They sent a letter earlier this week to all GOP county and township chairmen and ward
committeemen. They say the Hinsdale legislator is a seasoned campaigner and the only candidate who ``can take the fight to the entrenched Democrats that
dominate the state capitol.''

Amanda Vinicky

  This week officially kicks off campaign season. Tuesday was the first day candidates could begin collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot. Still some of the leading candidates can't start yet.

In order to get on the ballot, candidates have to prove voters want them there. In the case of Democrats and Republicans running for governor, that means getting signatures from no less than 5,000 and no more than 10,000 members of his party.

Amanda Vinicky

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is drumming up his campaign for governor with a second campaign. Rauner, a Republican, is trying to get a question on the 2014 ballot that could lead to major changes in state government.   He says he'll donate a sizable portion of his personal fortune into the effort.   Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky spoke about it with him at length in the following interview:

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Of the four Republicans running for governor, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is the only one who's never before served in government. But he's already looking to change it, and in significant ways.

Rauner is heading a petition drive to institute term limits, to make it harder for legislators to override a governor's veto, and to reduce the size of the General Assembly. His plan adds a handful of members to the Illinois House, but takes away 18 senators.

Rauner says that'll make elections more competitive.

Jason Parrott/Tri States Public Radio

State Senator Kirk Dillard has selected a west-central Illinois lawmaker to join him on the ballot in his bid to be the state’s next Governor.  State Representative Jil Tracy stood before a crowd of about 150 in Quincy’s Washington Park and accepted Dillard’s request to run as lieutenant governor.

The Quincy Republican says she took a close look at all of the Republican candidates for Governor before making her decision.

Republican meeting in Springfield
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Republicans are at a crossroads. The party has a historically small number of people in the Illinois Senate, and a small minority in the House, too. But Republicans are also hopeful about 2014, when they have the chance to win back the Illinois governor's office, ending 12 years of Democratic rule.

Party leaders and candidates rallied in Springfield Thursday at the Illinois State Fair, where the men competing for the top of the ticket each said they're uniquely qualified to revive the Illinois Republican Party.