A Republican Party official who represents Central Illinois is praising a controversial TV advertisement that GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives released last week.
The ad has been criticized as racist, sexist and homophobic. It includes a variety of thank-yous to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
In one part, a man in a dress thanked the governor for signing legislation that allows him to go into the girls bathroom. However, the Chicago Tribune pointed out the governor signed legislation that allows transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificate with the permission of a medical professional. It did not address the bathroom issue.
Also in the ad, a man in a bandana thanked Rauner for making Illinois "a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals."
In a statement over the weekend, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tom Schneider criticized 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. Rep. Ives' campaign ad does not reflect who we are as the Party of Lincoln and as proud residents of our great and diverse state," Schneider said. "She should pull down the ad and immediately apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division."
The state Republican Party is largely funded by the multimillionaire Rauner, who is facing Ives in the March 20 GOP primary.
John McGlasson, of Pontiac, who is a member of the state Republican central committee for the 16th Congressional District, said in a statement he was concerned Schneider was taking sides in the primary by objecting to the campaign ad. Yet McGlasson himself stakes out a position on the ad.
"It is up to the voters to decide whether this ad is good or bad," McGlasson said in a statement. "In my opinion, it addresses important issues in the race. It hits them head on and without ambiguity. The voters deserve to know where the candidates stand in order to make an informed decision when they cast their ballot."
He added, "Chairman Schneider’s job is to serve all Republicans and support the eventual nominee."
In an email to The Times, McGlasson said there is a difference between Schneider speaking for himself and his speaking for the party in releases by the organization.
"We don't give up our right to have opinions, but when we are in a position of import, we must make it clear that we speak for ourselves and not the group or organization," McGlasson said.
McGlasson also has not been neutral in the Republican race between 16th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger and his rival, James Marter. McGlasson has been active in Marter's campaign.
"When I speak for the Marter campaign, it is as campaign chair, not as a member of the state central committee," McGlasson said. "I try to be true to that, but there may have been a situation or two where it was not as clear as it should have been."
In 2015, Rauner appointed McGlasson to the Illinois Healthcare Facilities and Services Review Board.