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Rauner ads target moderate voters

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Illinois Republican governor candidate, Bruce Rauner, targets Democrats and “on-the-fence” moderates in his fleet of campaign ads, hoping to win votes in the Chicago suburbs, according to one expert.

Bruce Rauner, the GOP candidate for governor, has tried to shape his image as a moderate to attract undecided voters. Photo courtesy of AP

Bruce Rauner, the GOP candidate for governor, has tried to shape his image as a moderate to attract undecided voters. Photo courtesy of AP

In one of his most talked about ads, Rauner, donned in flannel and his $18 wristwatch, laughs with a golden retriever and his wife in a series of heartwarming outtakes denouncing partisanship and “career politicians.”

DePaul University political science professor, Wayne Steger, said that while campaign ads normally mobilize their own party base, Rauner is targeting the Democratic market while assuming Republican support.

“Rauner wants to portray himself as a moderate,” Steger said, referring to the ad with Mrs. Rauner and others featuring Latinos and African-Americans.” He wants to be acceptable to Democrats and independent voters.”

Something Else Strategies, the political media and communications firm that produced the video with Mrs. Rauner, has received $589,140 from Citizens for Rauner and is one of the organizations hired by Rauner’s campaign team.

To win, Rauner has to woo voters in Chicago’s west and north suburbs, Steger said, particularly those in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. According to Steger, these groups are typically economically conservative and socially moderate.
In the 2010 election, Quinn won by only one percent—47 percent to Brady’s 46 percent—with only three of Illinois’ 102 counties voting a majority Democratic. Of those three, Chicago was the only region with a more than 10 percent majority.
Garrett Sanborn, a political science student at DePaul said every vote counts in Rauner’s campaign, and that his ads target suburban independents, moderates and “wishy-washy Democrats” who aren’t committed partisans.
Different from the few pro-Quinn ads that attack Rauner, Sanborn said Rauner is taking a more “folksy” approach.

“Rauner is trying to rally people to his cause. He never attacked Democrats. He attacked career politicians and people who were taking advantage of the system,” Sanborn said. “Everyone can get behind that.”

Will Boersma, also a student at DePaul, traditionally identifies as a Democrat but feels more inclined to vote for Rauner.
Boersma said he looks at what voting Democratic has done for Illinois since 2000 (referring to the political scandal and corruption of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.) Besides gay rights, marijuana legislation and concealed carry gun laws, nothing has changed in Illinois. The state is still in debt, he said.

“Voting Democratic isn’t helping the debt ceiling,” Boersma said. “I don’t know if (voting Republican) is the best or worst idea, but I know someone needs to take action. Talk needs to stop and action needs to start.”

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Rauner ads target moderate voters