Gov. Bruce Rauner is planning to run statewide ads dubbing Republican primary rival State Rep. Jeanne Ives “Madigan’s Favorite Republican.”
Rauner had largely avoided speaking about his GOP rival or appearing in the same room with her — except for one joint appearance at the Chicago Tribune.
But a controversial new ad that Ives is running statewide targeting the governor — and a $2 million infusion of cash into her campaign from conservative donor and Lake Forest business magnate Richard Uihlein — perhaps changed the governor’s tune.
Linking her to Rauner’s arch-nemesis Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan is essentially the governor’s equivalent of going nuclear.
On Tuesday, Rauner’s campaign released a statewide digital and television ad saying Ives voted against increasing a property tax exemption and ‘brags about Madigan voting for her bills,” among other claims.
“Jeanne Ives might just be Mike Madigan’s favorite Republican and Illinois’ worst nightmare,” a narrator says in the ad.
The Rauner campaign said the ad is a “targeted statewide TV and digital ad” that describes Ives’ “poor record on taxes and her unwillingness to take on Mike Madigan.”
The Rauner campaign said it will continue to run ads against Democratic rival J.B. Pritzker, saying “we’re able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
“Representative Ives has already proven herself to be a completely unelectable candidate in the general election, and we’re going to make sure Republicans know how wrong she is on the issues of taxes and failing to fight the status quo,” the campaign said.
Ives’ campaign, in turn, called Rauner an “unrepentant liar” for claims made in the commercial.
“This ad is consistent with Rauner’s character. He is an unrepentant liar. If he’ll lie to Cardinal [Blase] Cupich, he’ll lie to anyone about anything. And in his three years as Governor, he has lied to everyone about everything,” the campaign said in a statement.
The ad comes a day after Ives defended a TV commercial she’s running statewide, which she said was intended to be a “parody,” highlighting bills Rauner signed that go against her views as a socially conservative Republican.
The spot, which has both 30-second and 60-second versions in a media buy worth about $1 million, features actors playing a Chicago Teachers Union member, a Women’s March participant, a man railing against illegal immigrants and an apparent transgender person.
Appearing before the Sun-Time Editorial Board on Tuesday, Rauner called the ad “shameful.”
“I think it’s shameful. I think it’s ugly, hateful,” Rauner said.