Oberweis campaign stands by ad targeting Underwood despite 'false' label

Republican congressional candidate Jim Oberweis will continue to air a misleading advertisement about Democratic rival Lauren Underwood.

The Daily Herald, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association's PolitiFact Illinois fact-checking enterprise have disproved the 30-second commercial's implication that Underwood described recent looting and riots as "beautiful protests."

But that hasn't been enough to sway Oberweis to pull the spot.

"The ads are staying up," campaign spokesman Travis Akin said in an email this week.

Underwood, a first-term representative from Naperville, and Oberweis, a state senator and dairy owner from Sugar Grove, are facing off for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat in the Nov. 3 election. And the ad's message has been a key part of Oberweis' campaign.

In addition to the commercial, Oberweis has accused Underwood in debates and interviews of refusing to condemn looting and violence, even though she characterized that violence as "not appropriate" and "a tragedy" in a Sept. 9 Daily Herald and Shaw Media interview.

The ad has been airing on TV and social media since September.

The clip of Underwood speaking in the ad comes from a video of a Sun-Times endorsement interview with both candidates recorded Sept. 3.

After an editor asked Underwood to respond to Oberweis' allegations about her stance on riots, Underwood said: "With respect to rioting and looting, I think that we have seen may instances of beautiful protests this summer, as people have stood up for this cause of justice and equality."

Underwood's campaign has insisted the remark referred to peaceful gatherings in the district and not to the violence that has occurred.

Regardless, the Oberweis campaign still is trying to convince voters that Underwood hasn't opposed rioting.

"She has not issued a clear public statement condemning the rioting and looting," Akin said.

The Daily Herald wrote about the elements of the Oberweis ad in late September, shortly after it debuted. The Sun-Times published a piece by a Better Government Association fact-checker this week that rated the ad's claim "false."

Underwood spokeswoman Andra Belknap called the Oberweis ad "a baseless attack" that "tells us everything we need to know about his campaign."

The 14th District includes parts of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Kendall counties.

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