Republican gubernatorial candidates face off

By WEEK Producer

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 11:50 PM CDT

CHICAGO, Ill. -- There was another forum for the GOP candidates for Illinois Governor Wednesday.

One of the four candidates, Bruce Rauner, didn't appear before the Union League Club, but that didn't mean his presence wasn't felt.

Rauner cited a scheduling conflict for his no-show before the Union League members.
But, whether he appeared or not, he is the front runner.

A new "Capitol Fax/We Ask America" poll shows Rauner the choice for Governor of 34% of those Republicans polled.
Bloomington Senator Bill Brady polled 17%, Dan Rutherford at 15% and Kirk Dillard at 9%.

Perhaps just as important, Rauner is way ahead in the money-raising race, $4 million in contributions as of late last year.

Rutherford has $393,000, Dillard $320,000, and Brady $74,000.

"It's obvious he's trying to buy the election"

"It's votes, not dollars".

Rauner has said as Governor he'll take on powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan, but in a Democrat-controlled legislature, the other three candidates were stressing their ability to cross party lines to get things done.

All three of the candidates at the forum said they'd support whoever won the March Primary, but no one said the words "Bruce Rauner".

Thursday, the four GOP candidates will be in Peoria for a 90 minute debate at the WTVP studios sponsored by Illinois Public Broadcasters and the League of Women Voters.

That debate will be broadcast statewide.