Gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, on Feb. 5 defended a campaign ad against Gov. Bruce Rauner addressing issues such as gender identity, abortion and immigration.
"What the commercial that is generating the expected hysteria from the expected quarters attempted to do – admittedly, provocatively – was to properly and truthfully characterize the extreme issue positions Rauner took and their implications," Ives said in a speech at a City Club of Chicago luncheon. "The commercial does not attack people. It tackles issues by truthfully illustrating the constituencies Rauner has chosen to serve to the exclusion of others."
In the "Thank you Bruce Rauner" commercial, an actor portrays a transgender woman wearing a dress.
"Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girls' bathroom," the actor says in the ad.
The commercial also features a man wearing a hoodie and red bandana on his face.
"Thank you, Bruce Rauner, for opposing law enforcement and making Illinois a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals," the man says.
In a statement, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider called for Ives to remove 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 statement reads. "Representative Ives' campaign ad does not reflect who we are as the Party of Lincoln and as proud residents of our great and diverse state. She should pull down the ad and immediately apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division."
Ives, who was first elected to the state legislature in 2012, previously served as a member of the Wheaton City Council.
"As Christians, we believe every person is made in God’s image and deserving of dignity," Ives said during the City Club of Chicago speech. "I respect people who are different from me. I respect people who have different views than me. In fact it seems that the converse is not true among many of whom I disagree. They shouldn’t be silenced. But neither should I. And I won’t be."
During a Q&A period following her speech, Ives said she wanted to know why people were so offended by the ad.
"What's so offensive about the ad?" she asked. "The ad is a policy ad. That's what it is. It's an accurate depiction of the policies that Rauner put in place. Look, I talk about it on the stump. My literature has all these issues laid out there. The fact that you saw a visual representation of the polices he put in place is maybe considered offensive."
To watch the commercial, go to benedictrauner.com.