Jeanne Ives is currently a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in the state’s 42nd district who is running for the Republican nomination to unseat existing GOP Governor Bruce Rauner. Her ad is aimed at making her look more “conservative” when compared to the Republican incumbent.
The controversial ad, which has been called transphobic, sexist, and racist, attempts to portray transgender people, African Americans, immigrants, and women in an undesirable way while they are thanking Rauner for policies that support such underserved groups.
The spot is meant to depict a transgender woman with a deep voice who says, “Thank you for signing legislation that let’s me use the girls bathroom,” while also depicting members of the women’s march thanking him for making Illinois families pay for her abortions, an immigrant thanking him for allowing Illinois to be a sanctuary state, and an African American woman thanking him for bailing out teacher pensions.
After being called out by not only civil rights groups, but also her own Republican Party for the hurtful portrayals in her ad, Ives decided to double down on her hurtful rhetoric.
“I want to know why people are so offended by it,” Ives said while speaking at the City Club of Chicago. “What’s so offensive about the ad?” Ives asked as she proceeded to call the transgender character a man. ‘The um, transgender man, that is exactly what typically a transgender man looks like,” Ives said. After the audience had called her out for her bigoted portrayal, she responded, “With all do respect, look I’ve had them at my door!”
“It is shameful. It is ugly. It is hurtful. There is really no place for those sentiments in our society,” said Governor Rauner in response to the ad. Equality Illinois also issued a statement condemning the spot. “Jeanne Ives is launching a campaign of division and rancor, targeting transgender Illinoisans for her personal and political benefit,” the group responded. Members of her own party have asked her to take the ad down. Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider asked Ives to apologize to those who “were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division.”
Ives has a history of taking an anti-LGBT stance in her politics. In 2013, she called gay marriage a “disordered relationship” while explaining that she would be voting “no” on the issue of marriage equality.
The Republican primary for Illinois Governor takes place on March 20, 2018.
See the Jeanne Ives political ad (trigger warning) below: