Conservative insurgent State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) says she has nearly caught incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, just days before the Republican primary on Tuesday.
An internal poll conducted by the Ives campaign shows her within just seven points of Rauner, trailing 42% to 35%. The poll has a 3.5% margin of error, according to the campaign.
If accurate, those numbers mean that Ives has a chance of mounting a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the closing days of the campaign.
In January, Ives trailed Rauner by more than 40 points. Now, she has momentum on her side — and she is attracting the attention of the Democratic opposition.
The Democratic Governors Association released an ad on Thursday attacking Ives as “too conservative for Illinois.” It warns viewers: “Ives wants to ban abortions, she has an ‘A’ rating from the NRA, pushing to arm teachers and stop new gun laws. And on immigration, Ives marches in lockstep with President Trump, trying to eliminate protections for undocumented immigrants.”
As the Chicago Sun-Times notes, the Democratic ad attacking Ives actually “helps her get her message out.”
As Ives has surged, Rauner has shifted to the right. On Tuesday, for example, he vetoed a bill that would have regulated gun shops in the state, drawing criticism from Democrats and gun control activists.
Rauner has refused to debate Ives, aside from a joint appearance at the Chicago Tribune editorial board endorsement meeting. On Tuesday evening, Ives appeared alone at a “debate” hosted by local public television station WTTW.
The risk: by leaving Ives alone on the stage, Rauner might have created an opportunity for her to show her credentials as a credible alternative to the incumbent governor, who has disappointed conservatives by funding abortions, failing to stop tax hikes, and making Illinois a “sanctuary state.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.