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After Uihlein cash boost, Rauner rival Ives begins airing TV campaign ads

Jeanne Ives, Illinois Republican gubernatorial primary candidate. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Wheaton lawmaker Jeanne Ives will begin running statewide television ads this weekend in her bid to try to unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner in the March primary, claiming it’s time for a “reckoning” for his “betrayal.”

Ives’ campaign said the ad will run statewide for a week, “at this point.” They called it a chance for voters to see her as the “conservative reform candidate.”

The ad features shots of Ives with her family and speaking to the camera: “I was raised to speak plainly, work hard for what you want and respect others who do the same.”

Ives, a social and fiscal conservative, entered the race last fall while attacking Rauner’s signing of a bill that expanded taxpayer funding of abortions, and for another that limits local cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

“I’m running against Bruce Rauner for the Republican nomination for governor because Rauner deserted the conservative families, like mine, who elected him,” Ives says in the ad. “I will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate others who do. There must be a reckoning for Rauner’s betrayal.”

Ives, a Republican state representative, got a $500,000 boost to her campaign fund last week from Lake Forest business Richard Uihlein. The donation marked a shift for Uihlein, who over the years has contributed more than $2.6 million to Rauner. But he has given the governor nothing since late 2014.

Still, Ives — who has about $1 million in her campaign fund — will have to go up against Rauner’s staggering $55.6 million campaign cash on hand.

Ives is enjoining some newfound attention after appearing for the first and only debate with the governor at the Chicago Tribune last week. And Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner J.B. Pritzker used Ives in a digital ad targeting the governor. It features Ives saying “Nobody trusts him and nobody agrees with his policies,” among other critiques.

She’s also faced some negative headlines. On Thursday Ives disinvited internet commentator Bill Whittle from a speech he was scheduled to give at her fundraising event in Woodstock. In a web video, Whittle said he believes African-Americans are intellectually inferior to whites, which leads to higher poverty and crime rates.

Earlier Thursday, Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady urged her in a tweet to disinvite him: “Bill Whittle’s racially infused rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated in the Land and Party of Lincoln.”

Ives’ campaign on Thursday night said Whittle’s remarks are “obviously offensive and objectionable.”