I caught the debate this evening. Here's a summary. I had no opinion going in.
The most interesting thing was that it there were three candidates: Quinn, the sitting Dem governor of two years, Brady, the GOP challenger, and Whitney, the Green candidate.
Brady did pretty well--then again he isn't pinned down by being the governor (on top of that Quinn's got the taint of Blago) and he also doesn't have to tiptoe around balancing the ensured support of social programs, which are presumably dear to the Dem base, while talking about cutting the budget. Brady mentioned once or twice about getting the state out of the way for the economy to grow. Here in Illinois, the main issue is a huge deficit and they mentioned that they need to cut the budget by 40% or so to meet obligations.
I was intrigued by Whitney. Half by his proposals and half for the break in pace when he completely interrupted the usual back and forth between the D and R every third time.
A majority of what he said was great but a non-negligible amount was out there. Apparently he's got a definite plan to cut the budget. A good point was that he specifically brought up about how core government services need to be funded while all the extra ones need to take the brunt, instead of cutting everywhere since there are certain things the government has to do to maintain an environment that will attract and keep businesses and people.
He made further great points about how neither main candidate actually has any definite, realistic budget plan, ethanol is "a boondoggle," and an interesting point about copying N. Dakota and instituting a state bank that would lend money to help get small businesses, especially green ones, going and helping to facilitate capital for alternative energies for consumers. Great! [I've actually had thoughts about how if the fed gov't really wanted to get money into the economy and help to get it moving forward, it should have set up a system to loan capital to small businesses instead of throwing it at Wall St.]
Then he brought up topics like encouraging farmers to grow crops for local consumption instead of 'importing all but 4% of the state's food from elsewhere'--I can see how that's important, but there are many more important fish. He also supports single payer healthcare in Illinois and free higher education. Nice ideas, but now is definitely not the time for the state to be buying off the wishlist. He also mentioned something about growing hemp. Even though hemp isn't good for drugs, I doubt people in general know that. Furthermore he brought it up voluntarily. Why? That's like proposing "Let's go stomping for landmines in Africa!"
Despite that, I'd strongly consider voting for him just for the spectacle it'd be. Also he might accomplish something somewhat good or at least get the two mainstream parties on their toes for next time around.
Here's a poll from today with Brady at 46%, Quinn at 40%, an independent at 4%, and Whitney with 3%.
It's interesting how different the politics are in places as similar as Wisconsin and Illinois. By the way, for those concerned, I'm definitely a republican, in Illinois at least.