Gov. Pat Quinn used a rally last week to go on the offensive against Bill Brady, Quinn’s Republican challenger in the fall gubernatorial election. At the Health Care Workers for Quinn rally, held last Wednesday at Apostolic Faith Church on the South Side, Quinn called Brady a “millionaire who doesn’t pay taxes” and lambasted his GOP opponent for proposing to lower the state’s $8.25-per-hour minimum wage.
“Let’s not let some millionaire driving a Porsche with a house in Florida cut the minimum wage,” said Quinn, who stood at the pulpit of the church, surrounded by supporters in bright green shirts.
He also used the rally as a platform to stress the importance of affordable health care for all Illinois residents.
“I love the health care workers of Illinois. I believe health care is a fundamental right for everyone on the planet. I will fight to my last breath to make it available,” Quinn said.
Quinn is running against state Sen. Bill Brady, a businessman from downstate Bloomington. Brady has said he would freeze the minimum wage in Illinois until the federal minimum wage level — now $7.25 — rises to meet the state’s.
After the speech, Lavita Harper, 36, a South Shore resident who works at a long-term health care facility, said she was moved by the speech, but that she was not yet sold on Quinn.
“I’m weighing all my options. I always go through everything with a fine-tooth comb. I want to make sure the state gives the nursing homes the money they need, that they deserve. The money is there and it’s not being put where it’s supposed to be. We need the money for more activities for the residents,” said Harper.
As the green t-shirted sea of Quinn supporters slowly filed out of the rally, Mica Mastoff, spokeswoman for the Quinn campaign, elaborated on the remarks Quinn made about Brady, saying that Brady is not on the side of the people of Illinois.
“Bill Brady is just absolutely too extreme for the people of Illinois,” said Mastoff. “He voted against coverage for mammograms. That’s not a polarizing topic — that’s a basic issue. He proposed legislation to mass euthanize animals in gas chambers. That’s how extreme we’re talking about.”
A spokeswoman for the Brady campaign responded in a telephone interview later that afternoon, saying, “This campaign is not extreme. This campaign reflects American values and the values of millions of people in Illinois.”
Responding to a recent Rasmussen poll which indicated that Brady currently holds a 13 percentage-point lead over Quinn, Mastoff said the campaign was not overly concerned about the poll results.
“Polls can go up and down from now until November, but we absolutely feel that we’re laying the groundwork for victory on Nov. 2,” said Mastoff.
Mastoff added that other polls indicate that a large percentage of residents don’t know who Brady is, and that there are still a significant number of undecided voters in Illinois.
“So what [the Quinn campaign] believes is that, as the campaign continues to ramp up, and there are debates and there are more advertisements and people really start focusing in on the issues, they’ll realize the stark contrast between Sen. Brady and Gov. Pat Quinn,” said Mastoff.