Anna Valencia’s Democratic campaign for Illinois secretary of state is launching its first television ad on Wednesday — pushing the city clerk’s support for abortion rights and hitting her chief rival for having once vouched for a Republican.
Valencia faces former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Ald. David Moore (17th), and Homewood resident Sidney Moore in the Democratic primary race to succeed Secretary of State Jesse White.
Her debut commercial zeroes in on Giannoulias, attempting to link the Democrat to abortion opponents through a former Republican legislator who was known for supporting abortion rights.
The 30-second ad called “Consequences,” features Valencia in a doctor’s office, vowing that, “after 50 years, a woman’s right to choose is being torn away.”
“My opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, has supported an anti-choice candidate and even lectured us to unite behind Donald Trump. Trump’s the reason we are facing this crisis today,” Valencia says in the ad. “Elections have consequences. That’s why Democrats statewide are standing with me.”
Democrats across the nation are hoping to use the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that could signal the overturn of Roe v. Wade to bring voters to the polls.
That’s a trickier strategy for Valencia in the secretary of state’s race.
Both she and Giannoulias are endorsed by abortion rights groups, Valencia by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Giannoulias by Personal PAC. And both have attended abortion rights rallies in recent weeks and showed their support for Roe v. Wade on their social media accounts and via statements.
In her ad, Valencia is referring to Giannoulias’ endorsement of former Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, who ran for state treasurer four years after Giannoulias had left the office. Cross, a moderate Republican from Oswego, however, has a history of endorsements that show he supported abortion rights and also same-sex marriage.
He also ran a 2014 television ad in which he said, “I’m pro-choice.” Cross was endorsed by Personal PAC in 2008 and by Equality Illinois in 2014. He was also just one of three House Republicans who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2014.
Valencia’s campaign also referenced a bill sponsored by Cross, as House GOP leader, in 2003, describing it as an “anti-choice” bill.
The legislation, a so-called “shell bill,” was designed to amend “the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act,” according to its synopsis, making “a technical change to a Section prohibiting partial-birth abortions.” Shell bills are typically filed as a way to move legislation often on unrelated issues along more quickly. Budget bills are often moved through shell bills that have already been introduced.
Cross’ ‘Partial-Birth Abortion-Tech” shell bill didn’t move past the House Rules Committee and was considered dead in January 2005.
Valencia’s ad also features a Chicago Tribune op-ed that Giannoulias wrote in 2016. The words on the screen read, “Alexi Giannoulias ‘Let’s All Help’ Trump.” The op-ed, however, ran two days before the election was called for Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton, and the headline actually read, “Let’s all help our president-elect unify a divided America.”
“On Wednesday morning, we’ll have a new president-elect, who will have to embark on the monumental task of bringing America together again,” Giannoulias wrote in the op-ed. “After a destructive campaign season filled with inflammatory rhetoric, he or she must unify our polarized nation.”
Both Valencia and Giannoulias have secured crucial endorsements. Valencia is endorsed by White, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Giannoulias is endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party and U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider.
Valencia’s ad will run on Chicago broadcast TV and cable, and on digital platforms, her campaign said. Her campaign is also running a digital ad featuring White himself, voicing his support for the city clerk. Valencia’s campaign on Tuesday said they have not yet determined whether that digital ad will run on television.
“Given how powerful Sec. White’s endorsement is, you could expect us to communicate his support for Anna to as many voters as possible,” campaign spokesman Chris Moyer said in a text message.
Republicans vying for their party’s nomination are state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington and former U.S. Attorney for Central Illinois John Milhiser, who is running on a slate with Ken Griffin-backed gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin.