With less than three months until the November election, Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday called on Republican challenger Bruce Rauner to firm up the candidates' debate schedule.
Quinn's campaign said the Chicago Democrat has committed to eight debates and forums statewide ahead of Nov. 4, along with a ninth potential event. Rauner's campaign said the businessman plans to appear at several debates and will announce the schedule soon.
Rauner, a venture capitalist making his first bid for public office, participated in fewer debates than his GOP opponents ahead of the four-way March primary. The move prompted some criticism from his fellow Republicans, which Quinn continued Monday.
"He should come out of the gopher hole and start debating important issues," Quinn told reporters after a bill signing. "We have to have lots of debates. ... That's the only way to treat the voters right. You see the candidates side by side on the issues."
In a statement, Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Rauner was "looking forward to comparing his vision" on property taxes, the income tax extension and education funding to Quinn's "failed record of job losses, broken schools and (ex-Gov. Rod) Blagojevich-style corruption across a number of debates and will announce those soon."
The November matchup is one of the most closely watched gubernatorial races nationwide.
Quinn plans to appear at a Sept. 17 forum hosted by the Daily Herald and seven other debates in October, according to the campaign. Several of the October debates will be hosted by Chicago television stations.