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McKenna’s new ad; Hynes in the dark

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* Andy McKenna’s campaign has a new TV ad. Rate it

It has already sparked controversy

This time, McKenna goes after the man who replaced Blagojevich, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. The ad says the state budget deficit is growing quickly while Quinn “hides the truth.”

The ad cites the Chicago Tribune to support the allegation, even though the newspaper never said that.

McKenna spokesman Lance Trover defends the wording as a fair summary of facts reported by the newspaper and not an attempt to mislead people into thinking the Tribune accused Quinn of hiding something. He maintains it’s not misleading because the ad doesn’t use quotation marks around the phrase.

“We’re the ones saying that,” Trover said.

The article in question is actually entitled: “Democratic governor debate: Gov. Pat Quinn says ‘missions accomplished’ as Hynes rips ‘flip flops.’

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, whose analytical skills are suspect at best, uses the “Royal We” to claim that the ad is one of the best ads of the seasons to date

For our money, the best ads we’ve seen so far in the 2010 midterms are in Illinois for Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna. McKenna, a former state party chair, has featured the famous hair of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in each of his early ads — a symbol of the corruption and business as usual that has dominated politics in the state. McKenna’s new ad starts with an image of Blago’s hair atop the state capitol dome while a narrator details what Blagojevich — and, by extension, his successor Pat Quinn — have done to the state. McKenna faces a serious primary challenge from, among others, former state attorney general Jim Ryan but win or lose he has provided a potent blueprint for the GOP nominee to ensure voters don’t forget about Blagojevich next year.

* Meanwhile, my weekly syndicated newspaper column takes a look at the Democratic primary race

The original hope by Dan Hynes’ Democratic gubernatorial campaign was that they could outspend and beat up Gov. Pat Quinn on TV by Thanksgiving to the point where the governor was vulnerable in the Feb. 2 primary.

Early benchmark polling for . Quinn had him leading Hynes 54-to-26, with other polls showing similar results. Hynes’ name ID was a relatively low 67 percent, compared with Quinn’s 88 percent.

Since then, Hynes has spent close to $2 million on TV ads, but Quinn has matched him pretty much dollar for dollar. And while Hynes stopped running network TV ads on Nov. 11 and went dark on cable last week, Quinn was up with a positive bio ad last week on both network and cable.

The governor has raised more money much faster than many people expected, given his historical aversion to the activity. Quinn has also run a much better, tighter and more visible campaign than many had expected. The governor is getting “earned” media coverage on the all-important Chicago TV almost every day, and the state’s multibillion dollar capital construction bill has allowed him to cut ribbons all over the state, which is something Hynes simply can’t match.

Recent polling conducted by other statewide Democratic candidates show Quinn ahead of Hynes 50-to-38 and 50-to-35, sources say.

While clearly demonstrating that the race is significantly tightening, the polling shows Quinn has not yet been brought below 50 percent - a crucial benchmark for all incumbents, even though there are more than two candidates in the race at this point (both of the second tier candidates face petition challenges, however, and could be booted from the contest). At least one of those polls has Quinn with about a two-to-one favorable rating, which shows that Hynes’ ads haven’t yet succeeded in roughing up the governor.

The Hynes people believe they have significantly closed the gap and are now in a position to make the final four-week run beginning in January. But big questions remain about what the “dark,” period - when nobody is running ads - between now and January will do to the polling numbers. Will Hynes fade back to the status quo ante? Or, will his numbers roughly hold steady while voters’ attentions turn to decidedly unpolitical things? There are reports from inside that Hynes plans to run a Christmas ad in December, but that will be a purely positive message and won’t do much of anything to bring Quinn down.

Since Hynes hasn’t yet fully put the governor on his back, there are those who believe that the comptroller’s campaign message won’t really work in the final four weeks, either. I have said publicly that I believe this race could be over by Thanksgiving if Hynes didn’t have Quinn bleeding from every political orifice by the traditional holiday season kickoff date - after which negative ads would likely be a huge liability. He doesn’t appear to have done that to Quinn, but I’m not quite ready to pronounce Hynes’ campaign officially dead, although everybody would have to admit that he does face some very, very difficult odds.

Both campaigns have indicated privately that polling and focus grouping shows that Governor Quinn’s proposed income tax hike “works” much better against him than attempting to tie Quinn to his ousted predecessor and two-time running mate Rod Blagojevich. Hynes has focused his advertising on the tax issue, but the ads clearly haven’t put Quinn down as of yet.

It’s not known whether Hynes will attempt to somehow use the Blagojevich issue in his January ad campaign. Quinn has a pretty solid reputation for honesty among voters, and he is probably seen as a “safe” choice, considering the last two governors. They also clearly want to see him succeed and have so far given him something of a pass on his many stumbles in office.

That hopeful voter attitude could all fade by next fall, after Quinn has another legislative session under his belt, but Feb. 2 is just around the corner. After this week, there are really only about four campaign weeks left, and every candidate who can afford it will be up on TV come January. There will be a lot of cash flowing, and messages will easily be buried under all the clutter.

* Related…

* Bernard Schoenburg: ‘Regular person’ out to ‘reclaim Illinois’

* Plainfield Township Republicans Endorse Adam Andrzejewski for Governor

* Illinois candidates take to air early

* Forecast for Dem primaries: Ugly: The Democratic Senate primary in Illinois — largely quiet until recently — might be the next flash point, another example of Democrats field-testing attacks on each other that will most likely prove useful for the GOP. There, the campaign of former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman charges that state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’s baggage from his career as a banker makes him unelectable, an argument that is likely to be revisited in some form by the GOP if Giannoulias, currently the front-runner in the polls, ends up as the nominee.

* DuPage candidate kicked off ballot: Meanwhile, the five other objections the electoral board heard Friday were unanimously overruled, and those candidates will remain on the ballot. Dan Cronin and Debra Olson, two of the four Republican county board chairman candidates, successfully defended the challenges. Both GOP sheriff candidates, incumbent John Zaruba and challenger Mike Quiroz, will stay on the Feb. 2 ballot. And Democratic District 2 forest preserve commission candidate Hilary Denk also survived the petition objection.

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:11 am


  1. Could the announcer’s voice been any deeper?

    Comment by OneMan Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:13 am

  2. The ad gets a zero for honesty.

    As a tough, independent businessman who sees a governor in the mirror, McKenna surely knows that states cannot declare bankruptcy under federal law.

    And how is Quinn hiding the truth as to the deficit?

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:18 am

  3. McKenna’s ads remain dumb, plain and simple. According to Andrzejewski’s recent poll, all the money hasn’t helped Andy much and may have hurt him.

    Comment by Downstate Dave Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:19 am

  4. What do you expect? This is Andy McKenna after all. Did you expect anything better from him?

    If WaPo thinks this is the best 2010 ad they have seen so far, then we are all in store for boredeom across the country.

    Comment by Niles Township Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:26 am

  5. McKenna’s theory is that the ads need to tweak people so they remember his name. They are attention-getting ploys, no more. He believes that he can buy a bunch of ads, buy a bunch of support in organizations and win without ever stepping in front of a single voter or real media interview.

    Comment by John Bambenek Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:35 am

  6. The only thing left for Mckenna to do is fire his whole staff, starting with the media firm. Maybe a Thanksgiving eve kind of purge. And then he can announce that he was “just kidding” and put up his “real” ads.

    Comment by wise guy Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:41 am

  7. JB, I’d be curious though if they’ve done any research as to whether people associate the “hair” message positively with McKenna.

    Sometimes ads with an overwhelming hook based on borrowed interest drown out the intended message, in this case, vote for McKenna.

    Kind of like, “I love that hair ad. Who’s it for?”

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:41 am

  8. Supporting Andrzejewski? Both his lack of experience and his “used car salesman videos” prove that he not a worthwhile candidate. This is only supported by his recent poll… have you read the summary? 1) He released a poll he was not even leading 2) The small sample set is not viable 3) Ironic that he only read HIS bio and then re-questioned. Obviously, he isn’t ready for Governor.

    Comment by Northbrook Driver Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:45 am

  9. Northbrook Driver, so being party chair and running your dads company makes you ready to be governor?

    At this point with this budget mess I would say unless you are Mike Madigan, no one is really fully prepared to be governor right now.

    Comment by OneMan Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:49 am

  10. These McKenna ads, and all the press they are receiving remind me slightly of Burger King’s recent ad campaign.

    How is that you ask?

    Crispin Porter Bogusky is the “edgy” and “creative” and “strategic” ad agency that’s been doing all the bizarre, slightly disturbing Burger King ads for the last five years, like the Subservient Chicken and Sir Mix-a-Lot vs. Spongebob and the idea of having your restaurant represented by a man in a huge, freakinsh, smiling mask.

    You see, the great thinkers of the advertising world love this kind of counterintuitive thinking. Also, Crispin has won many awards for their work in producing Burger King campaigns. They have totally “re-energized” the brand of Burger King, to the max!

    The only problem: they’re still getting beat by McDonald’s, and it some markets it’s worse than before.

    The bottom line: McDonald’s runs boring ads that show All-American people enjoying their McDonald’s food, with a little jingle at the end. And Burger King…well Burger King runs ads that win ad awards.

    The same holds true for these McKenna ads, people like Chris Cillizza can rave all they want about their creativity and insight - but in the end if they don’t move his numbers, which apparently they aren’t, then who cares?

    Comment by Jimmy87 Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 9:58 am

  11. This time, McKenna goes after the man who replaced Blagojevich, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. The ad says the state budget deficit is growing quickly while Quinn “hides the truth.”

    The ad cites the Chicago Tribune to support the allegation, even though the newspaper never said that.

    McKenna spokesman Lance Trover defends the wording as a fair summary of facts reported by the newspaper and not an attempt to mislead people into thinking the Tribune accused Quinn of hiding something. He maintains it’s not misleading because the ad doesn’t use quotation marks around the phrase.

    “We’re the ones saying that,” Trover said.


    Let’s thank the Spa ad from the Quinn campaigan for ushering in and influencing the distortion tactics of this McKenna negative ad. I have no sympathy for the Quinn campaign on this or any negative ads they get hit with, they opened this can of worms. During last week’s debates Quinn even used lines verbatim from the infamous and discredited Spa ad against Hynes. So, the Quinn camp and its are going to whine about the new Mckenna ad? please.

    Comment by Will County Woman Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:03 am

  12. Here’s what I don’t get: if it’s the campaign saying that “Quinn hides the truth,” why even include a newspaper cite?

    The truth is that newspaper cites are used to give outside validation to a statement in a political ad. In this case, the use of the cite is completely dishonest, and is obviously being used by McKenna to make it seem as if the Trib actually said “Quinn hides the truth.”

    It’s something Blagojevich would do.

    Comment by the Other Anonymous Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:04 am

  13. McKenna’s ads may be scoring big points inside the Beltway, but in the Land of Lincoln, they fall flat.


    Because, as Adam Alphabet’s polls attest, and anyone who has taken ten minutes to talk to voters knows, the #1 issue in both the GOP primary and the General Election is The Economy, not The Hair.

    Like McKenna’s Hair, his campaign’s message floats around disconnected from any sort of reality.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:04 am

  14. Bingo, Jimmy.

    Comment by Ray del Camino Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:04 am

  15. McKenna dubs himself “the only honest outsider…” This insinuates that the other 6 GOP candidates are dishonest insiders. Hard to fathom that the immediate past chairman of the state party could be an outsider, while, say, Dan Proft is suddenly an insider.

    Comment by reformer Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:05 am

  16. So, the Quinn camp and its are going to whine about the new Mckenna ad?

    Should read: So, the Quinn camp and its supporters are going to whine about the new Mckenna ad? please.

    Comment by Will County Woman Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:08 am

  17. I did note McKenna and Murphy have pretty good hair themselves!

    Comment by MadeOFF Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:09 am

  18. The TugBoat Outsider Andy Ad is the most gifted product to hit IL airwave since ChopperJim whirled about the UFO crash site near where Soldiers Field once stood.
    It will blast him to the head of the pack….He should tell LiteGov Candidate Murphy to replace his toupe with a Blagoof mop o help stir even more attention.
    Any day now they will zoom ahead

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:14 am

  19. Hynes’ Christmas Ad should start now.
    It should be called “The 12 Broken Promises”, and use the music to “The 12 Days of Christmas”.

    Every day, they add a new line, so that by Christmas, everyone will know the Hynes lyrics since they know the song already.

    Even folks who wouldn’t be interested, will be interested in the each new line of song.

    “On his first month in office, Pat Quinn promised to us - a special election instead of Roland Burris.”

    “On his second month in office, Pat Quinn proposed to us - a 50% tax hike, and a special election instead of Roland Burris.”

    Build each one up, and release the new line every day during the Christmas season.

    After 12 days, Hynes would have reminded up in song how far short Quinn has fallen as governor.

    Make sure to add
    “100 Gitmo Terrorists”
    “1 Vetoed Ethics Bill”
    “11 Billion Dollar Debt”
    “Keeping Blago’s Friends”
    “U of I Scandal”

    …and keep it up!

    Comment by VanillaMan Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:15 am

  20. If “experience” is your only criteria, then the only one you can support on the GOP side is Scott Fawell.

    Some of us would prefer not to have “battered taxpayer” syndrome and will take someone from the outside with real ideas.

    Comment by John Bambenek Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:18 am

  21. It is interestong that Ryan with no adds is leading the race.

    The GOP has a great chance to take back some seats; however I think the extreme right radical positions, and the anti-obama positions are going to cause them to blow that opportunity. IMHO the moderates and independents in the State are being turned off by some of the extreme viewpoints. The hair today adds I think also miss the mark… I believe “it’s the economy stupid” shouldbe the leading battle cry. Corruption, illegal immigrants, support for cap and trade…. way to insider baseball for most voters.

    Comment by Ghost Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:21 am

  22. The announcer’s voice is comically deep and all the pics of Andy looking like Mr. Businessman just remind everyone that it was the Messrs. Businessmen who ran the country’s economy off the rails and are profiting now while what used to be the middle class disintegrates before our eyes. And, the problem this ad and the previous one illustrate is that Republicans just don’t do humor very well. But, rock on, Andy! It gives us and clueless WaPo columnists something to talk about.

    Comment by Willie Stark Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:31 am

  23. Andy McKenna’s ads are really bad. I am not sure who they are trying to appeal to in a GOP primary…So far McKenna’s campaign has been all about rehashing the standard rhetoric and no policy positions. His attempt to buy the nomination through his dad’s money won’t work.

    With respect to Rich’s column on the Hynes campaign, Hynes attack on Quinn over the Midge Hough incident won’t win him any points with Democratic Primary votes. The problem that Hynes has and it looks like the polling backs this up, is that people know Quinn has been dealt a tough hand, they identify with him, like him and stand by him. If Hynes goes nuclear and starts running tv that claims Quinn is just like Blagojevich, this will show that the campaign is in desperation mode. Dem primary voters don’t like civil wars in primaries and Hynes increasingly desperate moves demonstrate that his campaign is failing to gain traction. It will be interesting to see what moves Hynes makes after the New Year.

    Comment by Big Policy Nerd Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:42 am

  24. I reeally don’t like the voice over’s voice. Annoying.

    Comment by Cosmic Charlie Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:45 am

  25. Terrible ad. Who is this targetted to??? It is probable meant to boost name ID, but everyone in GOP activist circles have already been bashing McKenna for months.

    Dan Hynes is a nice guy, but this article points out that his campaign is failing to pick up traction. Sending out press releases blasting Quinn everyday won’t cut it. People just don’t know who Dan Hynes is. The stunt they pulled with that health care forum was like a hail mary pass. The only one who looked bad after that waa that poor woman whose somber story got hijacked for political purposes.

    Comment by Burrito Bandit Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 11:21 am

  26. McKenna can run all the ads he wants-how about one apologizing for bears employee number 6 who is a bust-I won’t support him after what he did for peter fitzgerald.

    I’m also not going to be voting for any Illinois Republican with ties to springfield or the establishment so brady, dillard, ryran, mckenna are out. This is non-negotiable.

    It’s down to proft, schillerstrom and andrewski. Andrewski seems like too much of a neophyte.

    Schillerstrom seems like an actual normal human being. Proft worries me a bit with his social conservatism and cicero.

    I might just have to be about Bob even though I only know he’s from dupage and isn’t a springfield insider.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 11:33 am

  27. There’s an interesting piece in David Plouffe’s new book about him and axelrod passing on Hynes in 2003. I wasn’t around then, but for some reason the guy doesn’t have it. I don’t know what it is, but Martin O’Malley, and Bob Casey -the maryland and pennsylvania versions of hynes seem to have risen to the top alright. Perhaps worth a discussion.

    McKenna could have won this governors race if he had done something as party chair. He won’t get my vote.

    Comment by Shore Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 11:47 am

  28. It’s a great ad if everyone is talking about it and remembers it. But will it be effective in getting everyone to vote for him?

    Comment by Louis G. Atsaves Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 11:58 am

  29. WCW,

    I don’t understand your point. Because Quinn was disingenuous in the spa ad (the signed off on every check was the height of it), it’s ok for McKenna to lie too? One good lie deserves another?

    I am a Quinn supporter but I thought his ad was totally out of line. We need higher standards, not matched lies.

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 12:18 pm

  30. Chicago Cynic,

    normally i would agree with the two wrongs don’t make a right theory/principle. but, in this instance, i’m inclined to just *shrug* and say oh well this stuff happens in politics.

    I too would’ve liked to have seen quinn conduct himself/his campaign with higher standards, but i haven’t seen this because he/it isn’t. as a case in point, quinn personally re-iterated lines from the spa ad against the hynes during their recent debates.

    so, my position is that if the quinn camp went down the road first, then it should surprise no one when others follow that suit. And, if people are complaining about the Mckenna ad, but didn’t complain about the disingenuous, distorted and misleading spa ad put out by the quinn camp at all or as much, then people really shouldn’t bother complaining now or at all at this point.

    The Quinn camp set the degraded standards example in this campaign with that spa ad. why? because they’ll do and say anything to win? isn’t that what politics in this state is all about or has come to be?

    i can understand that the tribune may not want its name involved, but i can kinda see where the mckenna camp is coming from.

    Comment by Will County Woman Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 12:57 pm

  31. McKenna is very well suited to balance the budget and lead our state out of fiscal and moral bankruptcy. He has my vote regardless of the ads.

    Comment by Anon Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:34 pm

  32. Several county chairs have said they’d leave the party if he got nominated. A McKenna nomination would end the ILGOP for a decade. How’s that make him well-suited for anything other than being a Mike Madigan put-up?

    Comment by John Bambenek Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:39 pm

  33. While all of these posts are interesting, I notice no one even mentioned the Schoenberg piece on Patrick Beard. Here’s an ordinary guy who knows from years of experience inside government how that government is SUPPOSED to work. And he’s trying, in his own humble way, to do something about it. Maybe we should turn the spotlight on people like him instead of the politicians. Probably wouldn’t make much difference but it sure would be interesting to see how the pols react when they aren’t the center of attention anymore.

    Comment by Springfield Sceptic Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:46 pm

  34. WCW,

    Unless McKenna is running against Quinn, I don’t agree. It’s not as if McKenna was lied about - he’s not even in the same race.

    McKenna’s media firm tried to make it seem like the Trib concluded that about Quinn. They didn’t. McKenna made up a phony headline and slapped the Trib’s name underneath making it look like it was a Trib headline. Exactly the same as Oberweis. It’s misleading. Pure and simple.

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:21 pm

  35. Who cares if the ad takes some liberties? I prefer any GOP candidate taking these kinds of liberties.. anything to pound into the heads of citizens here how bad the lib big gov dems are here in IL! Say what you will about the ad, by McKenna’s not afraid to get after ‘em

    Comment by MembershipOnly Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 4:57 pm

  36. The new ad’s voiceover guy reads too much like the voice on a parody spot, people will think this is from saturday Night Live or mad TV or something. The attempt to add weight from newspaper cites clashes with the empty line about hiding truth… WHAT truth, exactly do they mean? Its not very clear. And Andy is fooling no one by calling the former party head an “outsider”.

    Frankly, the spot is not going to do much in Illinois to move the needle with voters. The beltway guys are very superficial as well as jaded: they react to the visual gag about the hair, then turn off their brain to go twitter about something else. Any serious analysis of the ad would show it is a hollow thing, only successful in the echo chamber of the A.M. inner circle of already-dedicated followers.

    I don’t think their ad guys know how to speak to real people. Quinn may come off goofy sometimes, but he connects with average people a lot better than this.

    Comment by Gregor Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 6:25 pm

  37. Members-only; you can’t be serious. The public perception of the mess is that it is a Gordian knot tied by two parties, neither of which they like all that much.

    What they respond to is a punitive motivation, a “t’row da bums out” mentality, but when they’re ALL bums, the choice becomes which bum is the least objectionable, the recent one they voted in to replace some bad previous ones, the non-successful bums that have hung around the periphery waiting their turn, or a brand new and untested, but unpredictable bum.

    I think this election is a game of who screws up least.

    Comment by Gregor Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 6:32 pm

  38. (11:33 obviously isn’t mine.) I’ll be honest, anything with “the hair” and an announcer’s voice that affected irritates me–generally, and I completely miss the remainder of the message. But then I’m probably not the targeted audience.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 7:53 pm

  39. People are missing the fact that McKenna as a primary ad that attacks Pat Quinn, the Democratic Governor. I can’t think of a more clear sign that the race between him and Hynes is over. Republicans’ numbers are telling them that Dan is toast so they are going after Quinn.

    Comment by WizzardOfOzzie Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 10:41 pm

  40. Adam’s the best candidate for Governor next year…neophyte means newcomer- the reason he’s a newcomer is because the economic and education policies of this state have been ignored for too long. His work as the successful organizer of one of the most successful Government Watchdog agencies gave him the impetus for this…

    I think that his policies and plan to get this state back on track is the best

    Comment by Jerry Vachaparambil Tuesday, Nov 24, 09 @ 12:17 am

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