socastcmsRssStartBy Greg Bishop | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
In their final face-to-face meeting, the major party candidates for the open Illinois Attorney General seat showcased different priorities, but said they would remain independent even after their campaigns were largely funded by the two rich men running for Illinois governor.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Democrat, faces Republican candidate Erika Harold and Libertarian candidate Bubba Harsy in the race to replace Lisa Madigan. Four-termer Madigan decided not to seek a fifth term.
During WTTW’s televised forum, Raoul laid out his priorities. He said he wants to protect the environment, health care and students from predatory lenders.
“Attorney Generals not only in the state of Illinois but nationally have taken a role as the last line of defense against [President] Donald Trump’s policies,” Raoul said.
Harold said she’d focus on fighting public corruption in Illinois. To do that, she advocated for the legislature to act to give the position greater powers.
“The [Illinois] General Assembly needs to empower the attorney general with the ability to convene statewide grand juries and the ability to issue additional subpoenas because you want the attorney general to be more proactive in battling public corruption,” Harold said.
The two were also asked about big political contributions from the major party candidates running for governor.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has given Raoul $3 million. Raoul said despite that, he’ll remain independent.
“I have a record and if anyone can point to in my 14 years of service where the flow of money has dictated how I act, I’d love to hear it,” Raoul said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has given Harold $2 million. Rauner also urged Harold, if elected, to investigate House Speaker Michael Madigan for corruption.
“I’ve made fighting public corruption a priority,” Harold said. “And I’ve talked about that it’s not about using the office to punish political opponents, that in and of itself would be an abuse of power and that’s something I’ve remained clear about in the entire course of this campaign.”
Harold said she hasn’t seen anything yet to warrant such an inquiry of Madigan. She said that the legislature should make rules governing conflicts of interest more stringent.
Libertarian candidate Bubba Harsy did not take part in the forum.
Whoever wins will manage what’s considered one of the state’s largest law firms with hundreds of staff attorneys and a budget in excess of $80 million.
The election is Tuesday.