Pritzker, Rauner campaign back-to-back in suburbs this week

With just two weeks left before the Nov. 6 election, rivals Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker appealed to core constituencies in back-to-back suburban stops.

Tuesday, Hyatt hotel heir Pritzker dropped into Lisle's Benedictine University to talk education.

The state's two-year budget crisis threw college and university funding into limbo and hamstrung the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, for students.

That caused a brain drain from Illinois, Pritzker said, because students "didn't know whether they were going to get their MAP grants because we went 736 days without a budget in this state."

"They didn't know if their faculty would be in place in their state schools ... they didn't know if they'd get the education that they wanted."

Rauner, a Winnetka venture capitalist, pounded away at jobs and taxes during a stop at Tempco Electric Heater Corp. in Wood Dale Monday.

"The prosperity of America is built by entrepreneurs taking a risk," Rauner said to an audience of workers.

"This election is about whether we keep going forward helping companies like Tempco - cut the taxes, cut the regulations ... let's advance manufacturing in Illinois."

Controversy followed both candidates on the campaign trail.

Rauner, who's been criticized both for being too friendly - and not friendly enough - with Donald Trump, was asked if he'd meet the president at a rally in Murphysboro in southern Illinois Saturday.

"I hope to be able to join the president when he's here," Rauner said. "His schedule is very hectic, as is mine, but we're going to try to overlap. I look forward to getting together with the president if we can, talking about trade, talking about immigration and some of the other policies important to Illinois."

Chicagoan Pritzker has taken heat following a lawsuit filed last week by former staff members who claim the campaign discriminated against black and Hispanic staffers.

"I'm very proud of the campaign we've put together," Pritzker said. "We have an extraordinarily diverse campaign staff.

"More than half of our senior staff are people of color or women. Almost 45 percent of our entire staff across the state are people of color. (Running mate) Juliana Stratton and I have made a centerpiece of this campaign of diversity and inclusion."

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  Gov. Bruce Rauner talks about job creation to workers at Tempco Electric Heater Corp. in Wood Dale Monday. Marni Pyke/
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