CHAMPAIGN — The anticipated candidate advertising wars in the new 13th Congressional District begin today with the debut of television spots by both Republican candidate Rodney Davis and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Commercials by both sides will begin running on Champaign television stations WCIA and WCIX, according to advertising order forms on file at the stations. No spots have been ordered yet at WICD-TV, also in Champaign, according to the station.
The Davis campaign would not reveal the extent of its advertising purchase, but the DCCC said it would spend $230,000 in the Champaign TV market, which also includes Decatur and Springfield. Records show the DCCC has ordered more than $65,000 in spots at WCIA and WCIX, beginning today and running through Sept. 17.
Davis had ordered $10,900 in spots at WCIA, running today through Monday.
Davis' spot, a 30-second piece aimed at introducing the candidate to voters, shows him and players from a youth football team in Taylorville that Davis coaches.
In the spot, Davis emphasizes the need to cut wasteful Washington spending to reduce the $16 trillion national debt and the need to get the debt crisis under control.
"I've been coaching these kids since they were 5," he says. "At first, it was about spending more time with my twin boys. Now, it's about helping all these boys become great men. I worry about the America we are going to leave them. Our $16 trillion debt leaves each of them on the hook for 50 grand ... and it's killing our economy."
The DCCC spot, which does not mention David Gill — Davis' election opponent — is more negative, associating Davis with former Gov. George Ryan, now in federal prison.
It repeatedly mentions the words "George Ryan," "scandal," political scandal," "political favors" and "clout list," then asserts that Davis "was right in the middle of it."
But the Davis campaign said that Davis' only connection with Ryan is that he worked for him right out of Millikin University, when Ryan was secretary of state and that Davis held a low-level civil service job at the secretary of state's office in Springfield.
The DCCC commercial says that Davis "was even given a job in Governor George Ryan's office," a charge the Davis campaign disputed, saying that Davis worked for Ryan in the secretary of state's office until 1997, two years before Ryan became governor. After that, Davis went to work for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, in a job he held until three months ago.
The spot also said that Davis had "taken nearly $1 million in taxpayer-funded salaries." Davis worked 15 years for Shimkus.
Michael Richards, Gill's campaign manager, said the DCCC ad was not coordinated with the Gill campaign.
"They're doing their own thing. We haven't had anything to do with any efforts the DCCC is doing," Richards said.
He said the Gill campaign doesn't know when media buys are made by the DCCC.
"All I can say about it is that it's a major ad buy, it's the first one in Illinois of the six contested congressional races and it shows their commitment to winning this race," Richards said. "They clearly think that David (Gill) is a good fit for this district."
Richards said the Gill campaign would run its own television spots later, although he could not say when.