Casten, Ives take shots at each other in new campaign ads

  • Democratic Rep. Sean Casten is being challenged by Republican Jeanne Ives in the 6th Congressional District race.

    Democratic Rep. Sean Casten is being challenged by Republican Jeanne Ives in the 6th Congressional District race.

Updated 9/26/2020 6:13 PM

In an already hostile political showdown for Illinois' 6th Congressional District seat, Democratic incumbent Sean Casten and Republican challenger Jeanne Ives have released new TV ads targeting each other.

Team Casten's latest commercial blasts Ives for giving Republican President Donald Trump an A grade during an interview earlier this year.


Team Ives's piece takes a swing at Casten for supporting proposed pay raises for House members and their staffers in an interview last year.

Not surprisingly, representatives for both candidates object to elements of the opposition's commercials.

The new 30-second ad from Casten, a Downers Grove resident seeking a second term in the House, is called "Grade."

Set to run on broadcast and cable TV, it features a snippet of video from a February Daily Herald editorial board interview with Ives and fellow Republican Gordon "Jay" Kinzler ahead of the GOP primary for the 6th District seat. Both candidates had been asked to grade Trump's performance.

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The ad shows Ives, a former state representative from Wheaton, saying "I give him an A." After a comment from a narrator, the clip is repeated with the word "yeah" added at the start of the sentence.

The ad truncates what Ives told the Daily Herald. She actually said: "Yeah, I give him an A on policy." She then praised Trump's work on the economy and his foreign policy.

But Ives also said she didn't like how Trump has responded to some of his critics, saying he should have taken a higher road in many cases.

The commercial goes on to paint Ives as a Trump ally against the Affordable Care Act, and it hits her stances on climate change and COVID-19 while also featuring an endorsement of Casten by former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady.


As the ad closes, the "I give him an A" audio is repeated.

Team Ives spokeswoman Kathleen Murphy accused Casten of taking Ives' words out of context.

Ives' new 30-second ad for cable and digital platforms is called "Peanuts."

In it, an actor is seen putting on wingtip shoes as a narrator refers to a federal Recovery Act grant Casten's company received during the Great Recession. The actor is then seen kicking aside peanuts on the ground as the narrator notes Casten makes $174,000 a year as a congressman and says Casten called the sum "peanuts."

The ad goes on to say Ives championed taxpayers in the state House and cites examples.

Casten's "peanuts" remark appeared in a 2019 article at

The article said Casten -- the former CEO of an energy recycling company -- and other freshmen Democrats saw a proposed raise as a way to help attract the best people to Congress, both as elected representatives and as staffers.

"I want to be able to attract the best and brightest to this job, because that's how I ran my company," Casten was quoted as saying. "When I ran my company, I paid a competitive wage. I didn't tell people, come here because you're so committed to our mission that you're willing to, you know, sleep on your friend's couch and work for peanuts."

Team Casten spokesman Jacob Vurpillat accused Ives of misrepresenting his boss's record.

Casten and Ives have sniped at each other in interviews, online forums and other ads during the campaign. Election Day is Nov. 3.

Libertarian Bill Redpath of West Dundee also is running.

The 6th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

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