The Illinois primaries are still more than six months away, but two Republicans are already ratcheting up what is expected to be a major GOP battle to wrest control of the suburban 6th Congressional District from freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten.
A few weeks ago, Jeanne Ives declared her candidacy for the seat. A former state representative from Wheaton who ran an insurgent campaign in the 2018 GOP primary against then-incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, Ives was little known statewide before her bid. She lost the primary to Rauner by just a few percentage points.
In what is shaping up to be a rematch of sorts, Ives is expected to face off in the 2020 primary against Rauner’s former lieutenant governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, who ran alongside Rauner in his failed 2018 re-election bid, which he lost to Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
During a recent TV interview, Ives took a swipe at Sanguinetti over an issue that in many ways formed the cornerstone of Ives’ 2018 challenge of Rauner, whom she portrayed as being too liberal on social issues.
Speaking about the track record of the “Rauner-Sanguinetti team” on Fox 32’s “Flannery Fired Up,” Ives contended the former lieutenant governor, who opposes abortion rights, had not taken an overt stand opposing Rauner’s decision to sign a controversial bill that expanded the public funding of abortions.
“She publicly did not stand in opposition to it, strongly in opposition to it,” Ives told host Mike Flannery. “Whatever opinion she had was never picked up by the media in that regard. And she may have opposed it, but she still stood by her man the entire time as he continued to bail out big corporations on the backs of ratepayers and everything else, so she stood with him hand in hand the whole time.”
Ives’ comments clearly suggest Sanguinetti did not go public with her disagreement on the abortion measure. Yet numerous news articles published the day Rauner announced his intention to sign the bill reveal his lieutenant governor made her opposition clear.
Rauner was elected governor in 2014 after running for office as a pro-choice fiscal conservative with “no social agenda.” In September of 2017, he signed a measure that expanded abortion coverage for women on state and Medicaid health plans and ensured the procedure would remain legal in Illinois even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The move followed months of pressure from abortion rights groups after Rauner said earlier that year he planned to veto the bill over public concerns about taxpayer-funded abortions.
During the news conference he held declaring he would sign the bill, known as HB40, Rauner was flanked by abortion rights advocates, including former GOP lieutenant governor Corinne Wood.
But Sanguinetti was noticeably absent from the event. Instead, she issued a statement that same day declaring she opposed the governor’s decision, which was picked up by numerous local and national media outlets:
“As a pro-life Republican, I disagree with the governor’s decision to sign HB 40,” her statement read.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for a 15-year-old refugee who chose to have me and keep me. I realize this bill is a political ploy to divide the people of Illinois,” her statement continued, referencing the Democrats who control the state House and Senate and sent the bill to Rauner’s desk. “While I disagree with the governor on this, we must focus on our areas of agreement — enacting real reforms we need to turn Illinois around.”
Following his decision to sign the measure, Rauner faced the wrath of many Republicans who said they felt he betrayed them.
That list included Ives, one of the legislature’s most conservative members. She announced her candidacy for governor a month later, saying Rauner had discredited himself by signing into law what she described as “very extreme measures,” including HB40.
We repeatedly called and emailed Ives’ campaign to ask how she squares Sanguinetti’s widely reported statement with her claim that the former lieutenant governor did not break ranks with Rauner on the issue. Neither she nor any spokespeople responded to our requests.
Ives said that as lieutenant governor, Sanguinetti “publicly did not stand in opposition” to Rauner’s decision to sign a bill that expanded the public funding of abortions in Illinois.
That narrative is contradicted by numerous news articles published the day Rauner announced he would sign the bill, which quote directly from a statement Sanguinetti released clearly stating she disagreed with his decision.
We rate Ives’ claim False.
FALSE — The statement is not accurate.
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