A Republican candidate for the Illinois gubernatorial race has come under fire after publishing a mocking ad in which a deep-voiced man in a dress thanks current Gov. Bruce Rauner for “signing legislation that lets me use the girl’s bathroom.”
The minutelong ad, which was first published Friday by the Illinois political blog Capitol Fax, supports state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who is challenging Rauner in the primary as the more conservative candidate in a Democratic-leaning state.
The ad also depicts a woman in a pink pussy hat thanking the governor for “making all Illinois families pay for my abortions,” a black woman in a teacher’s union T-shirt thanking the governor for making the rest of Illinois bail out Chicago teacher pensions, and a man in a black hoodie and red bandana thanking the governor for “opposing law enforcement and making Illinois a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.”
“Thank you for betraying Illinois Republicans,” the ad ends.
In the subsequent outcry, several Republican politicians in support of Rauner condemned 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,” the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party said in a statement calling on Ives to pull the ad and apologize. Other leaders in the party supported Ives.
Ives’ campaign also stood by the ad, calling it a “fair and accurate representation of the implications” of the governor’s actions, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Rauner betrayed Illinois conservatives,” a campaign spokeswoman told the Associated Press. “He and his paid-for mouthpieces don’t like his betrayals being illustrated and his radical left-wing social agenda being exposed. Rauner is the one who owes Illinois families in general and conservatives in particular an apology.”
Fact-checking by other publications has found that Rauner didn’t sign any laws related to the use of bathrooms. He did, however, sign a bill supporting the right of transgender Illinoisans to change their gender on their birth certificates, according to the Tribune. Rauner, who has said his support for abortion rights has been clear, also signed a bill expanding taxpayer-subsidized abortions for some women. He also signed a law protecting people from being detained by police just for their legal status and preventing police from turning immigrants over to authorities without a warrant.
On Thursday, the day before the ad was released, Ives was forced to cancel a speech for a fundraiser by an internet personality who has said black people are intellectually inferior to white people.
According to the Washington Post, Rauner has a 40-point lead over Ives in the polls.