SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Democrat Day rolled through the State Fair Thursday.
Candidates on the ballot this November came out to the fairgrounds after a big brunch at a nearby hotel attended by about 3000 people.
The brunch was choreographed to show energy and enthusiasm.
“Bruce Rauner has tried to divide us. He’s tried to pit communities against each other,” State Rep. Juliana Stratton said. “Instead of dividing us, he has united us.”
Illinois Democratic heavyweights addressed a packed hotel ballroom and overflow room.
Many bought tickets hoping to hear from former Vice President Joe Biden. But he cancelled his appearance here due to illness. Filling in was South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He ran for national party chair and has been described as a rising star.
“I am conscience that you did not come here to see me speak about waste water. I’m conscience that most of you did not come here to see me speak at all,” Buttigieg said.
The nominee for governor billionaire J.B. Pritzker has pumped more than $100 million into the campaign to defeat Rauner and the Republicans.
Like Rauner has been doing with the Illinois GOP for years, Pritzker is subsidizing the Democrats.
“It is time to pound the pavement is all 102 counties of this state and I mean all of them,” Pritzker said.
Hovering over the event was the Republican effort to link Pritzker to longtime Speaker of the House Michael Madigan. Republicans are reminding voters that Pritzker is running on a graduated income tax to shore up state finances.
“This is about a fair tax making our tax system much more fair so that we can pay for our schools, balance our budget, ask people who are wealthiest in the state to step up to the plate,” Pritzker said.
State Senator Kwame Raoul is the Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General. The Republican in the race Erika Harold is taking aim at Raoul in a TV commercial. Raoul used his brunch speech to unload on his Harold. Raoul, a prostate cancer survivor spoke about the importance of access to health care.
“My opponent says that filing suits against the Trump administration is purely political, maintaining access to life saving health care is not political, it’s a duty,” he said.