Gov. Bruce Rauner slammed a controversial ad from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, his rival in the Republican primary, and criticized proposals to legalize recreational marijuana during a Daily Herald editorial board interview Monday.
Regarding the ad, "I think it's shameful, it's shameful. Ugly, hateful, mean-spirited," Rauner said.
Ives, of Wheaton, is standing behind the commercial that focuses on transgender people, women who have abortions and undocumented immigrants, among other issues.
In the ad, a man dressed as a women in a red dress says, "Thank you, Gov. Rauner, for letting me use the girls' bathrooms." A woman wearing a pink hat like those worn by many participants in the Jan. 20 Women's March thanks Rauner for "letting Illinois families pay for my abortions." And a white man with a bandanna over his face thanks Rauner for making "Illinois a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals."
"I don't think it reflects the Republican Party," said Rauner, an investment banker from Winnetka. "I don't think it reflects the values of the people of Illinois and I think there's no place for that type of sentiment in our state."
Rauner has signed legislation that prevents local police from arresting someone based on immigration status and also that allows state health insurance and Medicaid funding for abortion.
Ives, in a speech before the City Club of Chicago Monday defended the commercial, which a number of Republicans including Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider have criticized as divisive and asked to be taken down.
"It does not attack people," Ives said. "It tackles the issues by truthfully illustrating the constituency Rauner chooses to serve to the exclusion of others."
Rauner said of Ives, "I think that ad proves she's not electable."
The 60-year-old governor said his focus is on economic and educational issues. "My goal is to be a uniter and bring us together on what we agree on -- term limits, lowering property taxes, ending corruption. Social issues are important, they're very divisive."
But, "I believe in a woman's right to decide ... I said that in the campaign four years ago," Rauner said.
A majority of the six Democrats running the March 20 primary support legalizing recreational use of marijuana, explaining that it will generate new revenues.
"I personally do not support that today," Rauner said. "I think recreational use of marijuana is a massive human experiment." Although marijuana is legal in states like Colorado, "we do not know the consequences of the experiment. I do not want to experiment on the young people of Illinois. Marijuana has dramatically changed in terms of potency and impact and there's very little research on the impact of marijuana on a developing young person's brain."
Rauner is due to give his budget speech this month. He promised a balanced budget with "significant cuts," but didn't provide further information.