Interruptions and Allegations Drown Out Policy in Second Gubernatorial Debate

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In a debate no less churlish and no less pointed than their first meeting two weeks ago, Governor JB Pritzker and his Republican opponent, Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), traded barbs in their second and final debate Tuesday night in Chicago.

Pritzker again avoided being pinned on many specifics, especially on controversial issues like the elimination of cash bail, while Bailey offered few policy solutions to his criticisms of the Pritzker administration.

While Pritzker, who was fighting a cold, again punted on specific changes he would make to the law eliminating cash bail on January 1, he criticized Bailey’s claims he would repeal the law.

“Darren Bailey constantly talks about repealing the SAFE-T Act on day one, but then, at the same time, says he can’t repeal reproductive rights,” Pritzker said. “Which is it? Either he doesn’t understand the legislative process or he’s lying about his positions.”

Bailey continued to criticize Pritzker for an increase in crime in the state.

“Life is worse today than it’s ever been in Illinois,” he said. “Nothing has gotten better in the last four years.”

Pritzker took credit for incrased funding for State Police, but said Bailey offered few specifics.

“He has no plan to address crime in Chicago,” Pritzker said.

One issue Bailey was forced to defend himself was on a comment he made to Crain’s Chicago Business implying he would cut education funding.

“What I stand for is getting rid of the administrative bloat that exists in our schools,” Bailey said Tuesday night. “We have got to hold our schools and our spending accountable. When schools get more money, when Governor Pritzker throws more cash out there, many people think they just have a need to hire more administrators. We need to slash administrative funding and get that money in the classrooms to teach our children to read and write.”

Pritzker, of course, was critical of Bailey’s comments.

“[Bailey] wants to defund education, which is going to raise property taxes and it will destroy public education,” Pritzker said. “He shouldn’t be let anywhere near education policy or education funding.”

The most notable takeaway from Tuesday’s debate was Bailey’s persistent interruptions seemingly every time Pritzker answered a question. By our count, Bailey interrupted Pritzker at least 22 times in the 55-minute debate, compared to 8 from Pritzker, who was visibly frustrated at times.

“Can we not have interruptions,” Pritzker asked at one point early in the debate. “Why don’t you answer questions, I’ll answer questions, and allow the voters to listen to what we have to say.”

Bailey was repeatedly chided by moderators for his interruptions and the two men repeatedly talked over each other.

The debate comes on the heels of campaign finance reporting showing Pritzker outspent Bailey 23:1 during the third quarter of the year, though, we’re told Bailey could be getting a last minute cash infusion from billionaire Richard Uihlein.

It is the last time the two men will share the stage before the November 8 election, and moderator Micah Materre asked them to say something nice about their opponent.

Bailey said he liked how Pritzker dresses and hoped Pritzker would take him suit shopping after the election. Pritzker complimented Bailey’s commitment to family, including marrying his high school sweetheart.

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October 19, 2022 at 05:28PM

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