Editorials

Illinois governor candidates need gentlemen's agreement to scale back campaign, give for good

Challenger J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner could do some real good by jointly donating to a cause or charity rather than setting a national record for campaign spending on a governor race.
Challenger J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner could do some real good by jointly donating to a cause or charity rather than setting a national record for campaign spending on a governor race.

Up front we admit this is a wishful thinking, Pollyanna view of the world as we wish it were, but we are on the heels of folks spending $123.2 million just to get their parties' backing to potentially become governor of Illinois. The two winners, Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, together spent $105.2 million on the primary.

Both men are billionaires who are largely funding their own campaigns. Both are expected to spend obscene amounts and set a national record for a governor's race as their TV ads clash and counter punch between now and Nov. 6.

Both men presumably want the job to serve the public and do good.

Maybe they should do everyone a favor by doing some good up front. How about forging a gentlemen's agreement to cut their campaign spending by, say, one-third and jointly donating the money to do good?

Let's further say they agree to spend $200 million on the general election. Take out $66 million, or $33 million each, and use it to fund scholarships for needy students, set up a cancer research grant or fund houses for disabled veterans.

The point would be to do some concrete good, and no one, except the TV stations, would notice that there were one-third fewer political attack ads.

Besides, the dark money will likely fill in the gaps.

Yes, we are living in Fantasyland. There's no way it would ever happen.

But how did we get to a place where our values are so messed up that we already averaged more than $100 a vote just for a shot at a job that pays $177,412 a year?

Give to those who need it. Give our ears a rest.

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