Democratic candidates for Illinois governor face off in debate

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CHICAGO -- Six Democratic candidates for Illinois governor pulled their punches during an hour-long debate Friday night.

They were polite discussing a variety of topics, including longtime Democratic Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan.

"Mr. Madigan has ruined this state," said candidate Robert Marshall.

Madigan is under fire for his handling of sexual harassment complaints made against his lieutenants.

Chris Kennedy slammed the Springfield culture of harassment.

"I have three daughters one of them interned in Washington, DC. I don’t think I would encourage any of the three of them to intern in Springfield," Kennedy said.

"I hope Chris sends his daughters to me when I’m governor because they’ll be in a good environment," candidate Bob Daiber said.

The leader in the polls, JB Pritzker was asked if he admires Madigan or works hand-in-hand with him.

Pritzker talked about his views that differ from Madigan, but stopped short of calling for the speaker to step down.

"There are things that I disagree with the speaker about. There are things that I agree," he said.

Marshall and the other candidates were asked to name Latino leaders they would work with if elected.

"I apologize, I really don’t know that many, and I don’t have any on my staff. If elected, I will try to do my best to appoint Hispanics," he said.

"There will not be a governor who is as close a friend to the Latino community than I," State Sen. Daniel Biss said.

Biss did not mention that he dropped his first running mate Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa over differences involving Israel.

Tio Hardiman, who is well behind in polls and fundraising, made a pitch to black voters.

"We’ve never had a black governor in the state of Illinois. You can see how I’m dressed today. I’m wearing this as a symbol for everybody in our great state," he said.

With six candidates on the stage and only an hour of debate time, there were no knockout blows.

Friday night's debate was the second of three scheduled before the March 20 primary.

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