CHICAGO (CBS) — In a new salvo in the race for governor, Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner’s campaign has released a startling new ad that not only uses censored profanity, but depicts rival J.B. Pritzker’s ties to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan as a same-sex marriage the ad deems an “unholy union.”
The TV ad depicts a wedding ceremony, with stand-ins for Pritzker and Madigan standing at an altar, taking vows.
“Repeat after me: I, Mike Madigan, take you, J.B. Pritzker, as my unlawful partner in destruction; to raise property taxes, corrupt government, and bankrupt Illinois’ future,” a man dressed in a judge’s robe says from the altar.
The actor portraying Madigan responds, “Done. Deal.”
The justice of the peace then faces the actor portraying Pritzker, and says, “And I, J.B. Pritzker, take you, Mike Madigan, to honor and obey till death do us part.”
The Pritzker stand-in answers, “Always have. Always will.”
Facing the camera, the justice of the peace ends the wedding ceremony by saying, “By the power vested in me. I now pronounce Illinois f*****.”
While the profanity he utters is bleeped out, his lips clearly utter the f-word, and the f-sound can be heard before the rest of the word is audibly censored.
The ad ends with an announcer stating, “Mike Madigan and J.B. Pritzker, an unholy union Illinois can’t afford.”
Rauner’s ad drew a swift rebuke from Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris, a gay state lawmaker who has endorsed Pritzker, and called the ad homophobic.
“Rauner just vetoed a law to protect LGBTQ Illinoisans from workplace discrimination. Now he is mocking same-sex marriage as an “unholy union”. Rauner’s blatant homophobia has no place in Illinois,” Harris posted on Twitter.
Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen issued the following statement regarding Rauner’s ad:
“It is only fitting that Bruce Rauner would choose to end his campaign by blaming others for his own failures. After four years of seeing their governor more interested in affairs with special interests, badmouthing his own state and refusing to compromise, the people of Illinois are looking forward to their divorce from Bruce Rauner being finalized on November 6th.”
Equality Illinois, a leading LGBTQ advocacy group, denounced the ad as “dog whistle” politics.
“We recognize a dog whistle when we hear one,” Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson said in a statement on its website. “The governor should be ashamed of using the LGBTQ community for comedic value to make a political hit. Our weddings are not a joke. Gov. Rauner does not represent Illinois’ values with this ad.”