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A longtime supporter of charter schools, Rauner also listed “dramatically improve education” among his priorities.

In the Democratic primary, Gov. Pat Quinn faces Tio Hardiman, an anti-violence activist from Hillside. Quinn declined to participate in the AP’s candidate questionnaires, but indicated in a year-end interview with the AP that he saw the economy playing a central role in the intensifying campaign, which he characterized as a “clash of values.” He is pushing for a hike in the state’s minimum wage, a proposal Rauner said he could support only along with other economic reforms, and which the other three GOP candidates oppose.

“I’m not going to let the clock get turned back by a bunch of folks who have views that I think are extreme and do not reflect the common good of Illinois,” Quinn said. “We’re not turning Illinois into Potterville. … We believe in a Bedford Falls where you take care of your neighbor and you have community.”

Hardiman said his top priority would be resolving the state’s pension crisis, saying the current plan to cut the unfunded liability over 30 years is “ridiculous” because “nobody will be around in 30 years to be held accountable for another failed policy.” He also said he wants to reduce violence statewide and better fund education.

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AP reporter Sophia Tareen contributed.

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