St. Louis Public Radio News
2:22 pm
Tue October 8, 2002

Blagojevich, Jim Ryan Spar in First Debate

Rockford, IL – Illinois' gubernatorial candidates traded jabs over their parties' chairmen in their first public debate last night in Rockford.

Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan said Democratic U.S. Representative Rod Blagojevich was "quiet as a churchmouse" over allegations that Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan may have used state employees for political work.

Former Republican Party Chairman Lee Daniels stepped down over similar allegations.

Blagojevich said Ryan had deep ties to Daniels. Blagojevich also blasted Ryan for his work on the Rolando Cruz case. Cruz was twice convicted of a murder he did not commit. He later was exonerated and released from death row.

Ryan said the evidence changed after he left office. Ryan said Blagojevich was spouting "mumbo jumbo" that works well in political focus groups but is not based in reality. And he repeated charges that Blagojevich's campaign has accepted help from felons.