Several Republicans called Saturday for Jeanne Ives to take down a controversial campaign video targeting Gov. Bruce Rauner that critics say depicts cartoonish, offensive versions of trans Illinoisans and women activists.
The “Thank You” video, which is posted online, targets Rauner’s record on issues such as abortion, immigration, and transgender rights. In the video, different characters sarcastically “thank” Rauner, the first-term Republican, for taking positions that Ives claims were insufficiently conservative.
During an appearance Saturday in Normal, Rauner said the video "just shows how unelectable Jeanne Ives really is."
"Ives has associated herself with questionable individuals that really don't represent the views of the people of Illinois," said Rauner, who was touring the Destihl brewery.
Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider issued a statement Saturday calling for Ives, a state representative from Wheaton, to take down the ad.
“There is no place in the Illinois Republican Party for rhetoric that attacks our fellow Illinoisans based on their race, gender or humanity,” Schneider said. “Representative Ives' campaign ad does not reflect who we are as the Party of Lincoln and as proud residents of our great and diverse state. She should pull down the ad and immediately apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division.”
Republican David Paul Blumenshine of Normal, who is challenging state Rep. Dan Brady in the March 20 GOP primary, previously endorsed Ives in her race against Rauner.
But Blumenshine told GLT on Saturday that he too thinks Ives should remove the ad. He said he opposes abortion too but that there’s a “better manner” to point out Rauner’s record. He said he’s also sensitive to the challenges facing trans people who feel ostracized or discriminated against.
Blumenshine said he still supports Ives but doesn’t agree with her or anyone else “100 percent.”
“I wouldn’t have run a commercial like this,” he said. “Yes, I would pull the commercial.”
Ives issued a statement when the video was released.
“Those Republican primary voters who don't know of Rauner's betrayals of conservatives need to know. Now they will,” the Ives campaign said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It’s been a roller-coaster week for Ives, who is mounting a primary challenge against Rauner largely by running to his right on many social issues—calling him “Benedict Rauner.” Earlier this week, Ives confronted Rauner during a 90-minute joint appearance with the Chicago Tribune editorial board. But also this week, Ives canceled a fundraiser appearance by a speaker who has said he believes African-Americans are intellectual inferior to whites.
Rauner is scheduled to appear Saturday night at the Equality Illinois Gala in Chicago, which benefits the yearlong statewide LGBTQ civil rights work of Equality Illinois Institute.
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