Less than a week after entering the mayoral fray, the Service Employees International Union in Illinois is behind a scathing new anti-Mayor Rahm Emanuel TV spot.
The new ad by the SEIU Illinois Council PAC opens with a shot of downtown Chicago, focusing in on skyscrapers, and a voiceover says: “From up here, Chicago’s never looked better.”
It then cuts to an image of crime scene tape: “But down here, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel we’ve seen nearly 10,000 shootings, 50 neighborhood schools shut down and a mayor who hits working people with higher taxes and fees, giving special tax breaks to friends at the very top. Now you see why they’re spending millions falsely attacking Chuy Garcia. Because Rahm can’t change his record, we need to change mayors.”
The ad aims to counter a pair of negative spots aimed at Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, painting him as an old-school politician and criticizing his past remarks about tackling the city’s financial troubles. The repeated on-air attacks may have contributed to Garcia’s poll numbers lagging behind Emanuel’s.
This week, Garcia’s campaign launched its first TV spot, featuring Garcia in front of a shuttered school building.
It’s clear Garcia aims to tap into two of Emanuel’s biggest weaknesses: neighborhood discontent over continued violence on the South and West sides and Emanuel’s massive school closures.
Emanuel has repeatedly defended his handling of city violence, pointing to the dropping number of murders.
But for months, Garcia has homed in on the rise in shootings. Garcia has called for 1000 more police officers on the streets, saying the department should curb its overtime use. Garcia has not specified how he would pay for those officers, given Chicago’s financial straits.
SEIU’s formal entry in the race had promised to shift the dynamic of the Emanuel-Garcia battle, bringing Garcia’s team much-needed resources and organization.
Labor sources had told the Chicago Sun-Times the labor group was poised to spend upward of $2 million on the race. The runoff between Emanuel and Garcia is on April 7.