The candidates are trying to close the sale. They’re trying to get you to vote early. They’re trying to get you to vote for them. They’re making their closing arguments, and Paul Vallas, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, wants to refute what he calls Republican governor nominee Bruce Rauner’s close. Rauner told the State Journal-Register editorial board Friday that having a higher minimum wage than neighboring states gives Illinois a disadvantage. That’s all Vallas needed to bore in on Rauner as anti-worker.
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“He spelled out his philosophy of why he thinks higher wages are bad for Illinois business tycoons like him,” Vallas said Monday outside the Capitol, in front of the Lincoln statue. “That reason is that it cuts into their profits.” Vallas, backed by a phalanx of labor leaders, defended the Quinn campaign’s emphasis on the minimum wage in a state with myriad financial problems. “It’s a substantive issue, but it’s also a symbolic issue, because it cuts at the core of what these two gubernatorial candidates are about,” he said. Speaking of labor support, Vallas brushed off a question about a Rauner TV commercial in which a man described as a former AFSCME local president said, “I trust that man with everything I’ve got." “Who knows,” Vallas laughed, dismissively. “He’s got a lot of money for a lot of commercials.”