CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) -- From his jail cell in Englewood, Colorado, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich cast a huge shadow over Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker in the only primary debate to feature all six of the Democrats running for governor in 2018.
Pritzker says there was nothing sinister or illegal about the wiretapped phone call he made to Blagojevich about a job nine years ago.
The long-forgotten phone call, one of many recorded in late 2008 as federal agents closed in on Blagojevich, resurfaced with a sinister spin earlier this month as an attack ad aired by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign.
Pritzker argued, during a debate in Carbondale featuring all six of the Democratic candidates for governor, that he was just offering his financial expertise as a public service. But perennial candidate Robert Marshall argued that it makes Pritzker un-electable. Two other candidates, businessman Christopher Kennedy and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), voiced agreement.
Given the chance to respond, Pritzker said Rauner has done nothing to improve schools or the state's finances, and said if he wins the nomination, he will "take him out."
Kennedy said Pritzker cannot win the general election, even if the mid-term elections elsewhere across the country "are awash with blue."
The Carbondale debate is expected to be the only one this primary season to feature all of the Democratic candidates for governor.
All of the candidates, except Marshall, voiced support for a constitutional amendment that would create a graduated income tax in Illinois.
for more features.