To the Editor:
It wasn’t that long ago, just 12 years, that the Illinois political chattering class was up in arms at then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s $20 million campaign fund and the barrage of negative ads attacking his opponent, Republican State Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka. I still hear the “Judy Barr Topinka… what was she thinking?” refrain in my head from time to time.
$10 million in 1994. $20 million in 2006. $30 million in 2010. Then appeared a rich guy in pearl snap shirts with an unlimited checkbook. Bruce Rauner smashed all those records in 2014. Now, you add another billionaire to the mix in a toxic political climate, and 2018 will likely put all previous examples of campaign spending far in the rear-view mirror.
Some estimate just the campaigns of Rauner and Democrat nominee J.B. Pritzker could spend over $250 million. All this for a job that pays $177,000 a year.
Furthermore, listen to what the candidates and their ads have to say. It will amount to nearly nothing of substance. They’ll use dark, grainy pictures of the other guy, ominous music and an even more ominous sounding voiceover talent trying to make you as afraid as possible of four years of their opponent in the governor’s office.
The only ones that lose are the people of Illinois. We won’t get any real solutions proposed by either candidate. How will Bruce Rauner work with or around Mike Madigan to get things done? How will J.B. Pritzker address the state employee pension nightmare? You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Be an informed voter and stand in front of the candidates when they visit your town and ask them real questions about issues that impact your family and don’t let them move until they answer it.
Somebody needs to put them on the spot.
Former Illinois journalist, political consultant and blogger