SPRINGFIELD — Is he the Comeback Kid?
On the same day a new poll shows Republican Bruce Rauner’s double-digit lead growing, Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn launched a new 60-secondtelevision commercial titled “Comeback,” marking his first sustained entry into what figures to be a long and brutal television ad war with his GOP rivalbetween now and November.
“It’s in times of challengewhen leaders are tested to do what’s right, no matter how hard,” the ad begins. “Pat Quinn’s never backed down from a challenge.”
Quinn’s spot outlines how since taking office in 2009,he presided overmore than $5 billion in spending cuts and a reduced unemployment rate.
He’s right about the state’s joblessness rate improving on his watch, but the ad avoids any comparison to how Illinois stacks up to its neighbors.
When the governor took office, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 8.5 percent. As of June, that rate had dropped to 7.1 percent statewide.
But four out of the five states surrounding Illinois boasted lower unemployment rates, with Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin all below 6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among neighboring states, only Kentucky had a higher unemployment than Illinois in June.
Quinn’s new commercial shows black-and-white photos from his early-1980s push to create the Citizens Utility Board utility watchdog. It also reminds voters of his move to strip legislators of their pay last year and of his refusal to take a paycheck during that period to spur action on pension reform.
“It’s a significant buy that Illinois voters will start seeing today,” Quinn campaign spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.
Rauner’s camp was quick in its reponse.
“Only in Illinois, would a governor launch a TV ad like this on the same day his lawyers are defending illegal patronage hiring in court,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in a prepared statement. “The truth is Pat Quinn got his start as convicted felon Governor Dan Walker’s patronage chief. He has failed as governor, presiding over the most job losses in the Midwest this year, and now finds his administration the focus of a federal criminal investigation.”
Recent polling in the race has given conflicting signals about how large of a lead Rauner maintains over Quinn. Tuesday’s Reboot Illinois automated phone survey done by the We Ask America polling firm has Rauner up 47 to33 percent. A McKeon & Associates poll released last weekend by GOP attorney general hopeful Paul Schimpf had the race tighter, with Rauner up 40 to 34 percent.
Here’s the Quinn ad itself:
And here is the script:
“It’s in times of challenge,
when leaders are tested.
To do what’s right, no matter how hard.
Pat Quinn’s never backed down from a challenge…
even when it meant taking on the powerful.
As a young man Pat Quinn took on the giant utilities.
He stopped them from gouging families on their electric bills.
It’s who he is.
Pat Quinn sees problems, takes action, and gets the job done.
With an economy in meltdown, and a crisis of corruption,
Pat Quinn took over as governor…
and went to work.
He cut five billion dollars in spending. Created jobs.
And when legislators refused to fix the pension crisis,
Pat Quinn stopped their paychecks cold, and refused his own, until the job was done.
That’s the test of leadership.
Now, Illinois is making a comeback.
With so much more work to be done,
Pat Quinn’s the leader we need on our side.
Pat Quinn. Governor.
Because courage counts.
And character matters.”