* I told subscribers about this development earlier this morning. Greg Hinz followed up…
In a critical development in the GOP race for governor, a union-backed group that had spent millions of dollars on TV ads blasting front-runner Bruce Rauner has decided to end its campaign, just as the race enters the crucial last week.
Michael Murray, a spokesman for the Illinois Freedom PAC, said the group has spent $3.1 million so far ripping Mr. Rauner but will spend no more, effective immediately.
Mr. Murray denied a report in Capitol Fax that unions that funded the effort concluded Mr. Rauner now is too far ahead to lose the race, and didn’t want to throw good money after bad. Rather, he insisted, “We feel we have accomplished our goal.”
“We wanted to highlight some issues with Bruce Rauner that the middle-class families of Illinois needed to be made aware of,” he said. “Now that we have achieved that goal, and all the top candidates are on the air, it’s up to their campaigns to make their final case.”
Yeah, OK. They “accomplished their goal” and now they go dark a week out? Right.
*** UPDATE 1 *** The full statement from Mike Murray…
We wanted to highlight some issues with Bruce Rauner that the middle class families of Illinois needed to be made aware of. You saw from the Tribune poll and Rauner’s reaction that we did just that. Now that we have achieved that goal, and all the top candidates are on the air, it’s up to the campaigns to make their final case.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Tribune…
Illinois Freedom raised more than $3.6 million and had begun a heavy schedule of TV advertising in early February. But a television industry official who asked not to be identified said the PAC’s spending on TV dropped noticeably on March 1 and fell even more this week. Murray said the group’s ads will run through the end of the week.