The Illinois Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for governor are spending more time campaigning against the incumbent than each other. And they’re not pulling any punches.
Eighteen-hundred Democrats came to Springfield Thursday for the party’s annual State Fair breakfast rally.
Organizers say it was a record crowd. They heard more than 20 politicians attack Republican President Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump.
Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy says both men were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“We don’t allow that in this country," Kennedy says. "And for the governor to be hesitant on that point, for the president to be hesitant on that point, is to put our democracy at risk."
Rauner did initially denounce the rally, but refused to say the car being driven into the crowd was an act of “domestic terrorism.”
The governor ultimately did accept that label, and later criticized Trump’s blaming “both sides” for violence at the rally.
Other Democrats are going even further than Kennedy.
At Thursday's rally, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar accused Rauner of using racial dog whistles to divide Illinois.
“You see, what Bruce Rauner is doing, is he goes to poor white communities in central and southern Illinois, and he tells them that the reason they have trouble getting ahead or their schools aren’t funded is because 'those people in Cook County and in Chicago get more than their fair share,’" Pawar says. "And we know what he means when he says ‘those people.’”
Pawar says events like the violence last weekend in Charlottesville are at the end of a line that begins with policies meant to divide.