The top Republican in the Illinois State House of Representatives is accusing Democrats of using harsh lies in their campaign literature around some competitive races in Chicago’s suburbs.
Republican House leader Tom Cross said at a news conference Wednesday that the mailers made it seem GOP candidates for the state legislature are opposed to government programs controlled by the federal government and would not come up at the Statehouse in Springfield.
“This is beyond the norm in politics of just playing games and fudging the facts,” Cross told reporters. “These are just outright bold lies.”
Cross pointed to a few mailers in particular, including one that reads, “Warning: Bob Kalnicky may cause sudden loss of Social Security and Medicare.”
“Explain to me how Bob Kalnicky, a candidate for state rep who gets elected, can cause a sudden loss of Social Security and Medicare,” Cross said. “He can’t do it!”
Kalnicky is the Republican candidate in Illinois’ 98th House District, which covers some of Chicago’s southwest suburbs. He faces Democrat Natalie Manley.
Cross pointed to similar mailers that have also been sent out in other competitive state House races, including against Susan Sweeney in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and Pat Fee in the western suburbs in Naperville. Sweeney is running against Democrat Marty Moylan, while Fee faces Democrat Stephanie Kifowit.
Illinois Republicans have said they believe they can gain the majority in the state House of Representatives. The GOP would need to win at least six House seats that are currently controlled by Democrats to hold that majority. But that’s an uphill climb this year, considering that the GOP has openly complained about new legislative boundaries; boundaries which were drawn by the Democrats, since they’re in the majority.
“I would say in my time as the leader, we have never done a press conference like this,” Cross said, referring to the tone of the mailers.
But Steve Brown, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Illinois, which funded the mailers, said the issues presented in their literature are relevant to the races.
“These people are supporting candidates who are going to devastate (Social Security and Medicare),” Brown said. “When those programs are devastated, the seniors in Illinois aren’t going to vaporize. They’re going to come to the state and ask for help and in huge numbers, for huge amounts of money. We’ve already have enough budget issues to deal with.”
As for the tone of the mailers, Brown said Cross and the Republicans have run their own nasty campaigns in the past.
“He ought to go look in a mirror when he talks about some literature that’s off base,” Brown said. “At least ours is right on target.”
Brown pointed to billboards that were put up around Chicago’s suburbs two years ago with an image of a bright-eyed baby next to lettering that read, “Mom’s Eyes – Dad’s Nose. Speaker Mike Madigan’s Debt.”