CHICAGO — A Republican lawmaker trying to unseat Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is standing by a campaign ad that’s being blasted as racist, homophobic and “repulsive.”
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a social and fiscal conservative, says the ad that began airing this weekend illustrates the GOP governor’s “chosen constituents based on the policy choices he made.”
The ad features actors portraying people including a transgender woman and a Chicago Teachers Union member, all thanking Rauner.
The deep-voiced transgender woman, wearing a dress that reveals a hairy chest, says “Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girl’s bathroom.”
Rauner hasn’t signed a so-called transgender bathroom bill.
Ives says GOP primary voters need to know about Rauner’s “betrayals of conservatives.”
“The ad represents Governor Rauner’s chosen constituents based on the policy choices he made,” the Wheaton Republican’s campaign said in a statement, “as well as a fair and accurate representation of the implications of those policy choices.”
But former state Republican party chairman Pat Brady tweeted this is the Jeanne Ives “we have known for years. There is no room in the Republican Party for racist, bigoted, homophobic candidates like her.”
Democratic candidates blasted Ives:
“Any elected official or candidate who does not disavow this horribly offensive ad outright should be ashamed,” said Danial Biss. “We must resist this type of racist, xenophobic, and transphobic rhetoric at all levels.”
“Jeanne Ives’ new ad is appalling and disrespectful to everyone who makes Illinois what it is today,” Chris Kennedy said in a statement. “It’s a slap in the face to everyone who’s brought progress and inclusivity to Illinois.”
“While Bruce Rauner needs to be defeated in this election, this type of hate has no place in our politics,” JB Pritzker’s campaign said in a statement.
And advocacy groups quickly condemned the ad.
Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Chris Geovanis emailed the Chicago Tribune, “we’re not going to dignify this racist, sexist, homophobic piece of crap with a response.”
And the ACLU of Illinois added, “It is sad that a candidate for the office of Governor of Illinois would seek to divide voters by attacking our neighbors, friends and colleagues who are newcomers and refugees, those of a different race, those who are transgender, and poor women in need of healthcare.”
The ad comes on the heels of Ives canceling a campaign event with an avowed racist and white superiority advocate.
–Associated Press, with Staff reports; screencap WTTW