FOX 32 NEWS - Gov. Bruce Rauner's GOP challenger unleashed a controversial ad Friday night, taking aim at the transgender community, women's rights activists, immigrants and the Antifa movement.
State representative and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives unveiled the "Thank you, Bruce Rauner" ad to an uproar of criticism.
The Ives campaign tells FOX 32 that testing shows the ad will be popular statewide and they are not surprised by the backlash.
Criticism for the ad came from both sides of the aisle.
This is the @JeanneIves and @DanProft we have known for years. There is no room in the Republican Party for racist, bigoted, homophobic candidates like her. We are better than @JeanneIves #twill https://t.co/f7Sdq2g4Us— Pat Brady (@pat_brady) February 2, 2018
All three leading Democratic candidates for Illinois governor denounced the ad on Friday.
My blood ran cold when I first saw it. Hate like this isn't just about hurt feelings. -DB— Daniel Biss (@danielbiss) February 2, 2018
While Bruce Rauner needs to be defeated in this election, the type of hate and poison the Ives campaign is spreading has absolutely no place in our politics. As governor, I’ll defend our communities from forces of hate and ensure Illinois remains a welcome state to all.— JB Pritzker (@JBPritzker) February 3, 2018
Chris Kennedy condemned the ad in a statement to FOX 32: “Jeanne Ives' new ad is appalling and disrespectful to everyone who makes Illinois what it is today. It's a slap in the face to everyone who's brought progress and inclusivity to Illinois. We already have enough hate and bigotry in the White House. We don't need a governor who stands silent against Donald Trump and we certainly don't need a governor who echoes Donald Trump.”
Terry Cosgrove, the CEO of an political action committee fighting for women's rights, said he hopes the ad makes waves.
“I think it's pretty despicable that they would do this but I'm not surprised but there is this element that exists and I hope that it motivates decent-minded people to register to vote and voter her people like her out of office,” Cosgrove said.
Rauner sent a statement to FOX 32 Friday night, but made no comment about the ad, instead once again bringing up House Speaker Mike Madigan.
"Governor Rauner is the only candidate in either party who will take on Mike Madigan, cut taxes, and reform our state. Representative Ives has already admitted that she’s not willing to take on Mike Madigan and will keep his 32% tax hike — not surprising given her history of opposing property tax reductions. Looks like JB Pritzker has some competition as Mike Madigan’s favorite candidate," the statement read.
The statewide ad making its debut the week after Illinois GOP mega donor Richard Uihlein, a Chicago packaging company owner, contributed $500,000 dollars to the Ives campaign.
Uihlein has also contributed to the failed U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore.