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Bruce Rauner's wife claim in new tv ad she's a Democrat; Doesn't pass smell test

Bruce Rauner is back on the campaign trail following his razor-thin, narrow victory in the Republican primary. Rauner won in a very tight, contentious race over a late surging Kirk Dillard, in spite of spending millions of dollars of his own money. The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that Bruce Rauner is now scrambling to "soften" his image, releasing a new television ad with his wife Diana, as they laugh and joke around.

Bruce Rauner's campaign has released an ad that claims his wife Diana is a Democrat. The facts do not bear out this claim.
Bruce Rauner's campaign has released an ad that claims his wife Diana is a Democrat. The facts do not bear out this claim.
ABC 7 News

Rauner was badly beaten up politically in his primary campaign, even being labeled as the "Mitt Romney of Illinois politics." The similarities between Rauner and Romney are striking, of course, both having run private equity firms and both owning multiple homes across America.

Both having that "hard" edge, that Rauner and his people have noticed.

However, this latest television ad his wife Diana "proclaims herself to be a Democrat," reports the Chicago Tribune. That doesn't mesh with the facts, as Diana Rauner's political allegiance skews "heavily" Republican. The Tribune points out that 77 percent of the more than $500,000 she's contributed to political candidates has gone to Republican candidates and causes, according to federal and state records show.

The new ad is effective in trying to turn around the portrayal of Rauner, and it is an attempt to portray himself to voters as a down-to-earth everyman. The Republican primary showed Rauner as the "caricature of an out-of-touch, multimillionaire business tycoon."

Since the Tribune called her out as a Republican, in effect, Diana Rauner "declined a request to discuss her Democratic credentials and referred questions to the Rauner campaign, where spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Diana Rauner "voted for Barack Obama every time" on the statewide ballot.

"If that doesn't make you a Democrat, I don't know what does," Schrimpf said in a statement to the Tribune. But the Tribune reported that "Election records show Diana Rauner voted in Democratic primaries in 2004, 2006 and 2008. But she did not vote in the primary election in 2010, a year of contested races for governor and U.S. Senate in both parties, or in 2012. Election officials said they had not compiled records on whether she voted in last month's primary election."

But state campaign finance records show that since 2009, when Bruce Rauner first contemplated and then rejected making a 2010 bid for governor, Diana Rauner made $238,150 in political donations, with 91 percent going to GOP candidates or conservative groups.

The new Rauner ad unveiled highlights the concern on Rauner's part, and acknowledges that Illinois is a blue state.

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Sources:

Chicago Tribune - In Rauner ad, wife says she's a Democrat, but her political donations suggest otherwise

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Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

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