Illinois attorney general candidates clash over ads during first debate

CHICAGO — Candidates for Illinois Attorney General faced off in their first-ever debate Monday during a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.

The Sun-Times invited Libertarian Bubba Harsy, but Democratic State Senator Kwame Raoul and Republican Erika Harold dominated the meeting. Raoul criticized Harold  for taking money from Governor Rauner, who has said Harold will prosecute House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"That is dangerous. The attorney general’s office should not be used to carry out the vendettas against your political adversaries," Raoul said.

Raoul is trying to paint Harold as extreme, airing TV commercials going after her position against gay adoption when she was a 19-year-old Miss Illinois contestant, and linking it to her stance in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage four years ago.

Harold said she now supports gay adoption, and ripped Raoul for airing the commercial which Politifact ruled false.

"I said that I support same-sex couples being able to adopt be able to be foster parents," Harold said. "I want him to account for why that’s on the air still when it has been rated as false."

After the debate, Harold said same-sex marriage is the "law of the land," and she wouldn't do anything to undo it, but didn't comment on her personal feelings on the matter.

"The family structure that most same-sex couples would adopt in is marriage. If you’re not in support of marriage but for a Supreme Court opinion, I don’t believe your decision has changed," Raoul replied.

Also outside the Sun-Times, Harsy said why voters should choose him.

"We have Mr. Raoul who is very much supported by the Democrat Party. We have Ms. Harold who is strongly backed by Governor Rauner and the Republican Party. So as a voter, I’m concerned maybe they won’t look out for the interest of the people of Illinois in their entirety and might just focus on their own political interest," Harsy said.

The AG candidates will meet again next Tuesday before the Chicago Tribune's editorial board.