Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to go on the offensive and attack Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), his challenger in the March 20 Republican primary, shows little regard for the truth and insults the intelligence of voters, the founder of an online news outlet said during a recent interview.
"What’s clear from the ads and so much past conduct is that Rauner places zero value on veracity and credibility," Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon told Prairie State Wire. "His political handlers evidently think the public is too stupid to know how dishonest the ads are. They're probably right about that, but there are so many other ways Rauner could distinguish himself without alienating more informed voters."
As Rauner and Ives exchange attack ads, the rancor between the two has become so intense that seven Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly issued a joint press release calling on Rauner to "stop his shameful distortions and fabrications" of Ives' record. The governor "can't defend his own policies" and "he's using deep campaign coffers to flood airways and mailboxes with bogus attacks," the press release said before referring to Rauner's characterization of Ives as the "favorite Republican" of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon
"Mike Madigan's favorite candidate?" the press release continued. "It's Bruce Rauner who enacted key elements of a progressive social agenda, including taxpayer funding of elective abortions. It's Bruce Rauner who signaled he'd accept an income tax increase, paired with reforms that never materialized. And it's Bruce Rauner who just proposed a new budged that relies on those taxes to balance spending, rather than proposing cuts."
The joint press release was signed by Reps. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) and Sens. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon).
Another anti-Ives attack ad, a mailer marked "Paid for by Citizens for Rauner, Inc." that was recently received by many Illinois voters, refers to Ives as "part of the problem in Springfield".
Inaccuracies in Rauner's attack ads have significantly damaged his reputation, especially among GOP lawmakers, Glennon said. "Politicians may lie to the public, but among themselves in Springfield credibility is the currency of the realm," he said. "It’s key to getting things done. And it's among legislators that Rauner’s word has become meaningless."
Despite that, Rauner can still recover going into the 2018 general election, Glennon said. "Definitely," he said.
"Ives still has a huge name recognition problem and her social conservatism makes it very tough to win even a GOP primary in Illinois," he said. "In the general election I think any of the Democrats will scare the average voter."
But that doesn't mean Rauner has an enthusiastic cheering section among the state's Republicans, Glennon said. "While I see so no enthusiasm whatsoever for Rauner, all Republicans are repulsed by each of the Democrats, and I expect the election will turn out as a least-of-evils contest," he said.