- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn got an assist Saturday from first lady Michelle Obama, who told a cheering crowd the incumbent and other Democrats will ensure a bright future for Illinois children. Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner said Democrats have been running Illinois for too long, and it’s time for a change.

The candidates are making their final pleas to voters across the state in advance of a Tuesday election that’s expected to be one of the closest in the U.S.

Speaking to an audience of about 1,400 in Moline, the first lady - who grew up in Chicago - said the outcome of the race is “personal,” The (Moline) Dispatch reported. She said Quinn will make the kind of investment in education that leads to good jobs and a stronger middle class.

“We need to be energized for our kids,” Obama said. “We need to be inspired for our kids, to build them the future they deserve.”

Rauner made stops in Quincy, Lawrenceville, Carmi, Harrisburg and Marion as part of a three-day statewide swing he’s calling the “100 Years is Enough Tour.”

He told about 150 supporters at a park in Quincy that Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - all Democrats he described as “the Chicago political machine” - have run Springfield for a combined 100 years.

He said those “career politicians” are responsible for Illinois’ financial problems, The Quincy Herald-Whig reported.

“They’ve driven our state into the ground,” the first-time candidate and businessman from Winnetka said. “It’s time to get these career politicians out of office and bring real change to Illinois.”

The first lady also campaigned for Quinn in Chicago last month and has recorded campaign ads for the Chicago Democrat.

On Sunday, both Quinn and Rauner are scheduled to attend church services in Chicago. Rauner also has stops planned in East Alton, Peoria and Hickory Hills.

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