IL Democratics, Republicans spar with competing TV ad, documentary

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A new documentary takes aim at state House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. (WLS)

Illinois Democrats are apparently trying to capitalize on the divide in the Republican party. The new TV commercial takes aim at Gov. Bruce Rauner and highlights Donald Trump.

The anti-Rauner commercial started running the same week that a feature-length film targeting the state's Democratic leader - House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

"The state of Illinois has been known for its unique brand of politics. It's been called "The Chicago Way,'" a narrator says in the hour-long documentary, which was financed by Illinois Policy Action, a subsidiary of the conservative, free-market think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute.

The film connects Madigan, who has held office 45 years, with his state's near-catastrophic fiscal crisis.

Producers interviewed Democrats and Republicans, journalists and constituents in Madigan's Southwest Side district.

"I think it's important that Illinoisans sort of get a peek behind the curtain of who's been at the helm for so many years," said Austin Berg, of the Illinois Policy Institute.

"So, I think there's a role for a documentary to play in bringing these kinds of characters to light for the public," said executive producer John Papola.

However, Democrats are inflicting their own damage to Rauner -- Madigan's Republican arch-enemy. A political action committee is airing a 30-second ad attempting to link Rauner to Trump, the GOP's presidential nominee.

The ad features controversial comments by Trump, repeatedly cutting to Rauner saying "I will support the Republican party's nominee."

The ad does not mention that Rauner's answer was recorded when there were several Republicans vying for the party's nomination.

"If he wants to say 'Whoops, I've changed my mind' I'd love to hear that. I think he owes that change of mind to the people of Illinois," said state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston.

Rauner, a past donor to the Illinois Policy Institute, will not comment on the presidential race. Meanwhile, the documentary producers said they had trouble convincing many Madigan critics to participate in their film.

"There's a level of, frankly, fear we encountered with subjects about Michael Madigan," Papola said.

ABC7 contacted Speaker Madigan's office by email for a comment about the documentary and did not get a response by Wednesday evening.

For more about the film, visit
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politicsBruce Raunermike madiganSpringfield
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