Ill. congressmen blast Hynes ad attacking Quinn

January 22, 2010 8:15:12 PM PST
A campaign ad featuring the late Mayor Harold Washington has triggered an outcry by high-powered Democrats.Washington is critical of Pat Quinn in the ad. But Dan Hynes, Quinn's only opponent in the race for governor, defends it.

Democrats who worked with Washington call the ad outrageous.

"The revered Harold Washington is being used as a mudslinger," said Congresswoman Jan Schkowsky.

Congressmen Schkowsky, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez held a news conference accusing Hynes of using the 23-year-old interview for political purposes.

"When I saw this ad, I couldn't believe it," said U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, (D) Chicago/West Suburbs.

In the ad, Washington talks about firing Quinn who worked for the late mayor seven months as the city's revenue director in the1980s.

Hynes, who was campaigning in the South Loop Friday, defended the ad and questioned Quinn's competence.

"Mayor Washington's words speak directly to that. Governor Quinn has never been strong at running an agency, with dealing with a budget," said Comptroller Hynes.

The congressional leaders, however, say the ad targets African-Americans who respect Washington hoping they will turn against Quinn.

And then there's the political history and racial tension. In the 1980s, Dan Hynes father, Tom Hynes, a former county assessor and state senator, broke ranks with Democrats and ran against Washington.

"I was on the side of Harold Washington and bringing people together. I was against any kind of racial division. The Hynes family, including Tom Hynes and his son, Dan, opposed Harold Washington every step of the way," said Quinn.

"I was 18 years old when my father ran for mayor. Pat Quinn is not running against my father, he's running against me," said Hynes.

In the end, political consultant Delmarie Cobb says when it comes to African-American voters the ad will likely backfire against Hynes.

"What I would tell him is to take the commercial down and apologize to the community for ever putting it up and move forward from there," said Cobb.

Cobb also said the controversy bloodies the Democratic race right now and only helps Republicans in the general election.

A Chicago Tribune poll out Friday night shows Hynes and Quinn in a statistical tie; Quinn with 44 percent and Hynes with 40 percent. That poll has a 4 percent margin of error.