Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker went heavy on political jabs and light on policy in their second televised debate.

The two squared off again in Chicago at an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Both candidates have been dealing with their own scandals.

Pritzker took shots a Rauner’s handling of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a Quincy veterans home that left 14 dead and dozens more sick.

“Gov. Rauner knew about this,” Pritzker said. “His administration knew about it. Days went by without notifying people and people got sick as a result of that.”

Rauner said his administration wanted to get all of the information before it let the public know.

Hours before the debate was set to begin, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she was opening a criminal probe into Rauner’s administration for allegedly withholding information about the illnesses to the public. Madigan's office didn’t say what or whom in the administration was under investigation

Rauner hit Pritzker on his latest scandal involving a report the removal of toilets from his mansion in Chicago to get $330,000 in property taxes breaks was a "scheme to defraud" the government.

“A Democrat in the Cook County government has issued a finding after an investigation, that Mr. Pritzker has engaged in a scheme to defraud taxpayers of Cook County,” he said. “It is wrong. It is corrupt. It is self-dealing.”

The candidates were also asked about one of the state’s most pressing problems: More than $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities that currently account for 25 percent of the state’s budget and is set to grow.

“The Supreme Court in the state of Illinois ruled that we must pay the pensions that we are owed to people,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the state has a moral obligation to pay the pensioners.

Rauner said the state needs to adopt a “consideration model” that would give participants choices about benefits. It was proposed by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, but critics have said it won’t pass a court challenge.  

Neither Libertarian Kash Jackson nor Conservative Sam McCann had enough public support in polling to earn a seat at the debate.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for INN. Lauterbach has managed and produced shows for news/talk radio stations in both Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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