GOP Governor primary race heating up
January 12, 2014 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The primary in the race for Illinois governor is just over two months away and as the battle is heating up between the four candidates on the republican side, with one issue becoming the focus.
The candidates for the Republican nomination are waging war against Bruce Rauner over the issue of the minimum wage.
Republican candidate for governor, State Senator Kirk Dillard was out and about hoping to capitalize on the fallout from conflicting statements about minimum wage made by Republican frontrunner Rauner.
"You never can get rid of the minimum wage, I voted to increase it in the past, which shows I don't believe you ought to get rid of it, you've got to have it," Dillard said.
Dillard was invited to Sweet Holy Spirit Church for Sunday service by Bishop Larry Trotter who blasted the wealthy Rauner.
"For this gentleman to have said this more than one time, I think it's an indictment upon where we're headed in Illinois," Bishop Trotter said.
In different video and audio recordings Rauner either opposes or supports raising the minimum wage.
Last month, Rauner called for the Illinois $8.25 an hourly rate to be lowered by a dollar.
"I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage," he said.
The flip-flop on the issue has made the wealthy Republican a target of his opponents.
Sunday, Senator Bill Brady, who lost his bid for governor to Pat Quinn, also jumped on the bandwagon, challenging Rauner to clarify his company's relationship with political fixer, Rod Blagojevich insider, and federal felon, Stuart Levine.
"Explaining his relationship with Stuart Levine and how he used his influence to gain admittance for his child into Walter Payton," Brady said.
The Rauner campaign responded in a statement which reads in part: "GTCR had no contracts with Levine, but it's no surprise that a losing candidate like Bill Brady would make wild attacks against Bruce."
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who does not support lowering the minimum wage, said in a statement this weekend that he does not support increasing it at this time.
But for minimum wage workers like Antoinette Sloan, who often struggle to make ends meet, there is hope for who the Illinois' next governor will be.
"A compassionate person, a person that has heart for the people," Sloan said.
So far, Rauner has spent over $2 million on his money on his campaign.
The other candidates hope the controversy will mean a pick-up in their campaign contributions.
On the Democratic side of the issue, Governor Pat Quinn, who is seeking re-election, wants an increase in the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour.
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