GOP congressional candidate's ad contains inaccuracies about an opponent

  • Doug Bennett, Sapan Shah and Jeremy Wynes are the Republican candidates for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat.

    Doug Bennett, Sapan Shah and Jeremy Wynes are the Republican candidates for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat.

 
 
Updated 3/3/2018 6:23 PM

A Republican congressional candidate's latest video advertisement contains inaccurate or misleading information about one of his rivals.

The spot is from Libertyville's Dr. Sapan Shah, who's running for the 10th District seat in this month's GOP primary against Jeremy Wynes of Highland Park and Doug Bennett of Deerfield. The 30-second ad targets Wynes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After a brief comment from Shah, a voice-over accuses Wynes of lying about Shah's resume. But the video never identifies or corrects any statements from Wynes.

Instead, it attacks Wynes' work history and where he's lived, sometimes erroneously.

The voice-over accurately says Wynes wasn't born in the 10th District. Wynes was born in Galesburg, a city in western Illinois, and he grew up in Milan, near the Iowa border.

But a pin in a map in the video incorrectly places Wynes' birthplace near Milan.

Furthermore, text in the ad states Wynes "moved to the 10th District to run for office." Wynes moved to Highland Park in 2011, six years before announcing his candidacy.

Wynes said his wife grew up in Highland Park and that her parents and other relatives live there.

"The suggestion that I moved here in 2011 to run for office in 2018 is absurd," he said.

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Shah's ad also accuses Wynes of spending the past decade as a political operative and lobbyist. Although Wynes has worked for the Republican Jewish Coalition and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, two lobbying groups, he is not registered as a lobbyist, as would be legally required if he held that job.

Other parts of the ad are more accurate.

Through narration and text, the video alleges Wynes is unemployed and "is looking to get paid with your tax dollars."

Wynes is unemployed. He's said he resigned as Midwest regional director for the Republican Jewish Coalition last year to run for office.

As for getting paid with tax dollars, that would be true of anyone elected to Congress, where the base salary is $174,000 per year for members of the House or Senate.

Wynes said Shah is trying to create "false impressions" with the video.

"It's distraction and desperation," Wynes said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

When asked about the discrepancies in the ad, Shah campaign spokesman Spencer Sullivan said Wynes started the discussion about background by making personal attacks against Shah.

Sullivan specifically objected to Wynes campaign mailers that accused Shah of "carpetbagging" from Chicago to the 10th District, based on Shah's decision to register to vote in Libertyville last year despite having moved there from the city in 2012.

Shah has acknowledged he continued to vote in Chicago while living in Libertyville.

"I should have changed (my voter registration) in 2012," Shah told the Daily Herald last month.

Despite that admission, Sullivan called Wynes' "carpetbagging" accusation hypocritical. Shah was born in the 10th District in Waukegan, Sullivan said, while Wynes "was born nearly 200 miles away."

Wynes dismissed that complaint.

"If (Shah) thinks 10th District voters care where I was born 38 years ago, he's even more out of touch with the district than I thought," Wynes said.

Sullivan also objected to a Wynes mailer labeling Shah a "liberal insider." That same flier mentioned Shah made a campaign donation to a Democratic congressman.

Shah gave $1,000 to then-candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, in September 2016, Federal Election Commission reports show. Sullivan said Shah was asked by a friend to support Krishnamoorthi, who was elected to Congress that November.

"(He) did it as a favor," Sullivan said. "Dr. Shah is a Republican but (doesn't view) every move through a political lens."

When asked to comment, Bennett campaign spokesman Matt Vriesema said Republican voters want to know where candidates stand on important issues, "not where they were born."

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic incumbent Brad Schneider in November's general election.

The 10th District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties.

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