Emanuel denies involvement in Bloomberg super-PAC ads

February 20, 2013 3:20:11 PM PST
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel denies any involvement in a controversial television ad campaign in the 2nd Congressional District race.

The attack ads highlight one candidate's record on gun control.

The commercials are financed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Will the New York City mayor's millions make the difference? Or will the effort backfire and be remembered as "the Bloomberg boomerang?"

Second Congressional District candidates say the ad and who's behind it have become a central issue in the campaign.

Debbie Halvorson says, before she sits down to eat in 2nd District restaurants, she works the room to get as much face time with voters as possible.

"There are times when we don't get a chance to see people, so we know when can see them at mealtime," said Halvorson.

Halvorson is trying to convince people she is not the candidate described in negative television commercials sponsored by New York City's billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg's super political action committee.

Bloomberg, who supports candidate Robin Kelly, is the personal friend and gun control ally of Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayor and political boss, who insists he is neutral in the 2nd District contest.

"The voters will pick," said Emanuel. "But I want to be clear about one thing: Whoever wins has to be on Team Chicago."

"I have a hard time believing that the mayor of Chicago, a powerful man like Rahm Emanuel, has just allowed somebody like the New York mayor to just come in and run things in the City of Chicago," said Halvorson.

Alderman Anthony Beale released an Internet ad Wednesday accusing Bloomberg of trying to buy the election.

Meanwhile, Kelly's campaign is reeling, responding to a Chicago Tribune report that in 2010 she was charged with misreporting hours worked as chief of staff in the Illinois treasurer's office.

"We've got to make sure that we take a look at every corner of everybody's background, that we do not allow somebody with even a hint of unethical behavior into being elected to Congress," Halvorson said.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the Kelly campaign had not issued a promised statement in response to the newspaper story or Halvorson's comment.

All three candidates will attend a forum Wednesday night on the city's Southeast Side.