A new ad targeting Bruce Rauner has hit the airwaves as a more than $2 million assault on the Republican gubernatorial primary front-runner is underway.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported on Friday that a “shock and awe” anti-Rauner effort had started with a 12-page ad that was mailed to half a million Republican voters in the state.
On Tuesday, the newly formed Illinois Freedom PAC launched a TV ad combating Rauner’s contention that he will “shake up Springfield,” by drawing ties between the businessman and convicted insider Stuart Levine. Levine, a serial con man who pleaded guilty to a litany of corruption under the Rod Blagojevich administration, was being paid $25,000 a month by a Rauner firm at the same time that Levine sat on a teachers pension board. Rauner’s campaign said that the decision to hire Levine as a lobbyist predated Rauner’s firm acquired the company that held a contract with Levine.
“Bruce Rauner says he is an outsider who can shake up Springfield, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Michael Murray, spokesman for Illinois Freedom. “A company co-owned by Rauner’s firm paid Blagojevich crony Stuart Levine $25,000 a month at the same time that Levine, who sat on the Illinois Teacher Retirement System board, voted to give Rauner’s firm tens of millions of dollars in state pension funds. Bruce Rauner isn’t who he says he is. As a businessman he made a fortune using his Springfield ties; just think what he’d do as governor.”
Rauner has emphatically denied any impropriety tied to Levine and has publicly said he doesn’t know him.
On Tuesday, Rauner’s campaign called the series of ads a “desperate attempt to save Pat Quinn.”
“It’s no surprise that Quinn’s biggest financial backers are spending millions trying to smear Bruce and try to help elect anyone who will continue the failed policies of the past,” campaign manager Chip Englander said.