Rutherford: Illinois politics is a `blood sport` - FOX 35 News Orlando

Rutherford: Illinois politics is a `blood sport`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There's another of trouble for Dan Rutherford's campaign for governor.

Rutherford canceled valuable T.V. time he had reserved to air campaign commercials across Illinois.

Rutherford has fallen far behind in recent voter opinion surveys, and he now faces a lawsuit filed by a former state lawyer. The man claims Rutherford pressured him to do inappropriate political work and sexually harassed him.

That lawsuit came up at a republican debate in Springfield Tuesday night.

Rutherford complained in Tuesday's debate that Illinois politics is a "blood sport."

He then danced around his previous promise to release a taxpayer-funded report on the sexual harassment and other allegations against him.

"In fact, when I made the announcement that we were going to release it, that was totally the intent. There was a federal lawsuit filed. Right now, advice of counsel is because there's a federal lawsuit going on. I'm working it through. I want to get that out there. Believe me. And I've seen Illinois now, at the worst blood sport I've ever seen it. This is not easy to stand up here and run in the State of Illinois," Rutherford said.

Also on the hot seat was candidate Bruce Rauner.

His daughter won admission to the Near North Side's Walter Payton College Prep, one of the finest high schools in Illinois. Around that time, billionaire Rauner gave $750,000 to two Chicago Public School foundations.

Rauner initially denied discussing his daughter's application with then CPS CEO Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education. Rauner apologized Tuesday for what he said last summer to veteran Springfield political reporter Bernard Schoenburg.

"Arne Duncan and I would talk regularly, because I'm very involved and have been for 25 years in school reform in Chicago, very involved in charter schools, vouchers, school choice. So, I talked to Arne regularly. I don't really recall much of the conversation that my wife and I had around the time of our daughter's application to Walter Payton College Prep. The important issue we did not ask for any special treatment," Rauner said.

While all the Republican candidates said they'd prefer to let the state's temporary income tax increase expire next January, State Sen. Bill Brady, the party's previous nominee for governor, one-upped them all.

"In fact, I want to go further. I've outlined a plan to reduce the personal income tax in Illinois, with a goal of actually eliminating it, like states like Texas and Florida, who are tops in all barometers, tops in employment, tops in fiscal responsibility, tops in job growth," Brady said.

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