Rauner, in Champaign, says Dems trying to help his GOP opponent

Rauner, in Champaign, says Dems trying to help his GOP opponent

CHAMPAIGN — With four days to go in the primary election campaign, Gov. Bruce Rauner stopped in Champaign on Friday to shore up his Republican support at a brief appearance with local attorney Erika Harold, whom he recruited to be a candidate for attorney general.

Rauner professed not to be concerned with a poll publicized by his conservative GOP opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, who claimed earlier this week that she trails the governor by only 7 percentage points, 42 percent to 35 percent.

"Polls are pretty irrelevant. I don't pay any attention to them," he said with a laugh.

But Rauner is obviously concerned about a pair of political ads produced by the Democratic Governors Association: one that attacks him and another that asserts that Ives is "too conservative for Illinois."

The Rauner campaign said that the DGA's Ives ad, which also ties her to President Donald Trump, is a duplicitous effort to boost her stock with conservative Republican voters.

"Very creative, talking about her conservative credentials. They are playing her up specifically," Rauner said.

He asserted that the DGA had inserted itself into the Republican primary "with the beginning of major spending to support my primary opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives. They're doing that because (the Democrats) know they can beat Ives in the general election, and they know that I would be very difficult to beat."

When reminded that his campaign inserted itself into the Democratic primary with ads tying billionaire J.B. Pritzker to disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Rauner insisted the DGA ads are "totally different. We've never gone to support (Daniel) Biss or (Chris) Kennedy. Their primary was decided, it was rigged for Pritzker. They're coming in and supporting Ives because they know they can beat her."

He claimed the Democrats are "actually outright supporting Ives' candidacy."

But the ads say no such thing. The script to the 30-second ad says, "When is a conservative leader too conservative for Illinois? Meet Jeanne Ives. She's been rated as one of the most conservative in the state. Ives wants to ban abortions, she has an 'A' rating from the NRA, pushing to arm teachers and stop new gun laws.

"And on immigration, Ives marches in lockstep with President Trump, trying to eliminate protections for undocumented immigrants.

"Tell Jeanne Ives her conservative policies are just too conservative for Illinois."

The 30-second spot is labeled as paid for by the Democratic Governors Association and never urges viewers to vote for Ives.

Rauner blamed Pritzker and House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan for the ads.

"Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker. The outcome in that race was determined last year," he said during the campaign stop at the El Toro Restaurant on South Neil Street in Champaign. "At this point, they've decided to step in and try to change the outcome of the Republican primary, and they're actually supporting Jeanne Ives because they know they can beat her."

Asked whether he regretted never debating Ives except for a joint appearance at a Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting, Rauner said, "No, the real issue for all of us is defeating Pritzker and Madigan."

As to whether he is worried about the outcome of Tuesday's election, he responded, "We take every election seriously. Our message is a unifying message: reducing taxes, growing jobs, getting term limits on the ballot and defeating Pritzker and Madigan in the fall."

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