Race has dominated the campaign trail in Illinois this week.
Governor Rauner, seeking a second term, is touting his black agenda and Friday black lawmakers’ feud with Rauner grew stronger.
Friday, during an interview with a Springfield radio station, Rauner hit back.
“I'm not surprised they're sensitive because the black legislators really have not been serving their community very well,” Rauner said. “They've been loyal to Mike Madigan and his machine.”
Hours later, black lawmakers threw punches at an event arranged by the Democratic campaign of J.B. Pritzker.
“This is a blatant attempt at pandering to conservatives in his party by blowing his racist dog whistle,” Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch said.
“He hasn’t shown in anything that he’s done that he truly wants to support black communities,” Rep. William Davis said.
“For four years we have been ignored, divided and left behind by Bruce Rauner,” Rep Juliana Stratton said.
The dust up comes on a day when Rauner attended a forum focused on Fair Practices in contracting.
On the campaign trail, Rauner has been highlighting his black agenda and talked up education funding, executive orders to boost black businesses and criminal justice reform.
On the radio, Rauner said, “The reality is that the black community has been suffering in Illinois under the policies of Madigan's majority for decades. High unemployment, high taxes, lack of economic opportunity and lack of educational opportunity.”
Rauner doubled down on that message at his forum downtown Friday. Apparently, he’s going to continue arguing Democrats have failed black voters.