Illinois state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) is challenging incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the upcoming gubernatorial primary, attacking him from the right. Her campaign’s latest ad, however, does so by taking aim at various groups, including teachers, transgender people, and young feminists.
An actor portraying a mockery of a transgender woman thanks Rauner “for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” even though the bill referenced on screen (HB 1785) was actually about modernizing the process by which transgender people update their birth certificates. Illinois has had nondiscrimination protections inclusive of gender identity since 2006.
A young woman wearing a “pussy hat” from the National Women’s March thanks Rauner for “making all Illinois families pay for my abortions.” The bill referenced on screen, HB 40, extended abortion coverage in state employee insurance plans as well as Medicaid coverage. Rauner said he signed the bill because, “I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose.”
A blue-eyed actor who appears to be white and has a clearly American accent appears wearing a bandanna and hoodie and thanks Rauner for “opposing law enforcement and making Illinois a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.” The bill referenced on screen, SB 31, actually only restricted state and local police from arresting undocumented immigrants solely for their immigration status. In other words, it only applied to individuals who were not otherwise “criminals.”
An African American actress wearing a “Chicago Teachers Union” shirt thanks Rauner “for making the rest of Illinois bail out Chicago teacher pensions.” The bill referenced on screen, SB 1947, simply funded education in the state and created one of the largest tax credit scholarship programs for low-income students in the country — as if that’s a bad thing.
The ad seems to have first appeared over the weekend on the site BenedictRauner.com, which is funded by the Ives for Illinois campaign. It has been admonished from both sides, including from state party chair Tim Schneider, who said, “There is no place in the Illinois Republican Party for rhetoric that attacks our fellow Illinoisans based on their race, gender or humanity.”
But the campaign has defended the ad and refused to take it down. “The truth is Governor Rauner abandoned House and Senate Republicans to advance his leftist policy agenda time and again,” the campaign statement reads, “signing the pieces of legislation featured in Ives’ ‘Thank you, Bruce Rauner’ ad that few, if any, Republicans supported.”
The positions in the ad mirror language Ives spoke for herself in another ad the campaign released a few weeks ago. In it, she complains about “[the] sanctuary state, premium spikes to prop up Obamacare, junk science on gender, and taxpayer-funding of abortion on demand.” She also attacks him for “governing like an Ivy League professor.”