Metro-East News

Attack ads have become the weapon of choice in the battle for top political offices

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

As Election Day draws closer, the mailers containing attack ads have inundated mailboxes around the metro-east, but how much is just junk mail and how much is truth?

The fliers are attacks on candidates by both major parties.

The Illinois Republican Party has sent a mailer attacking Brendan Kelly in his bid to become the U.S. representative in the 12th District, calling him soft on crime, citing the same issues cited by the Congressional Leadership Fund in its television ads against Kelly.

A flier again cites a plea deal in a case involving Todd E. Bramblett, who was sentenced to 3.5 years of probation after pleading guilty to two of three criminal sexual assault charges. Bramblett was accused of engaging in sexual acts with young girls in August 2013.

At the time, Kelly said the terms of the sentence were what the victim preferred “under the circumstances,” but did not elaborate.

A GOP flier says Kelly didnt’ file charges in 82 percent of sexual assault cases in St. Clair County citing a Belleville News-Democrat article. The 82 percent figure runs from 2005 through 2013. Kelly became state’s attorney in November 2010, and worked to improve those figures in subsequent years.

Democrats in the state have sent out mailers trying to discredit Republicans running for office.

An Illinois Democratic Party flier attacking Bost says the tax plan passed would lead to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

George O’Connor, a Bost spokesman, called that is a Democratic scare tactic.

“What the task reform bill did do and that was give a family of four in southern Illinois $2,200 back in their pockets and also you can look around and see the job creation that’s happening directly because of tax reform,” O’Connor said. “Tax reform did not cut services. That’s a falsehood being put out by Washington, D.C. Democrats calling it a scam bill. It’s not true. There’s nothing in the tax bill that cuts benefits.”

A mailer sent out by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, ties his Republican opponent Doug Jameson to Governor Bruce Rauner, and criticizes the incumbent governor for his handling of Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home.

“It was a preventable tragedy,” the mailer says. “The Rauner-Jameson team should have acted immediately and advocated for the funding needed to provide medical care for veterans.”

Jameson has never held elected office, but previously served as the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee chairman before he decided to make a run to the general assembly.

Kelly flier.jpg
The Illinois Republican Party has sent out this flier attacking St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, who is running for Congress in the 12th District.

“Let me be crystal clear. Jay Hoffman is lying about my role in the tragic situation that took place in Quincy,” Jameson said in a news release. “Since I’ve never held elected office, I’ve never been in a position to take direct action in overseeing the Illinois Veterans Homes. The facts remain, Jay has been an elected representative for 22 years. He has failed to lead. He has failed Illinois’ veterans.”

Jameson, who was mobilized as part Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s while in the U.S. Army, said he even visited the veterans’ home and lobbied elected state officials to ensure the CDC recommendations were implemented.

“What we are seeing in these attack ads is our elected representative blaming a constituent for not doing the job he was elected to do,” Jameson said.

Hoffman defended the mailer when asked about it after a recent candidate forum and said Jameson stood by Rauner’s side and points out that the flier never said Jameson caused the issues.

“We’ve seen what Gov. Rauner has done with regard to the veterans home in Quincy. Not only did it result in 13 deaths , but then he tried to cover it up. Not only did he try to cover it up, he tried to blame it, his administration tried to blame it on Tammy Duckworth,” Hoffman said. “I’ve been critical of that from the very beginning. While I’ve been critical of that, Jameson has consistently stood with Rauner. Not been critical, hasn’t said anything about the cover-up, hasn’t said anything about the deaths, and I believe if you’re going to run for office, even if it’s a person of your own party and you disagree with them, when something like this tragically happens, you shouldn’t be standing by and letting it happen.”

“I’m plenty critical of members of my own party if I don’t agree with them. It’s part of going to Springfield and representing your area,” Hoffman added.

Hoffman said he was a co-sponsor of resolutions calling for investigations of the Quincy veterans’ home, and he called for legislative hearings of what happened.

“That resulted in us putting in this year’s budget rebuilding of the Quincy Veterans home and the cleaning up the problem there,” Hoffman said. “To me it’s unbelievable that more people like Doug Jameson aren’t standing up in outrage of what Rauner and the Rauner administration did by just turning a blind eye to this illness that killed 13 people.”

A mailer attacking state Rep. Monica Bristow depicts her as a waitress serving Mike Madigan, whose holding a menu. In the foreground is a copy of a restaurant ticket saying Bristow voted in favor of raising taxes and consistently votes with Madigan.

Madlock flier.jpg
The Democratic Party of Illinois has sent out this mailer against Centreville Republican Jason Madlock, who is challenging state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis.

The Illinois Republican party has sent out a flier with a high-heeled show stepping on a house, saying “Katie Stuart and Mike Madigan are crushing metro-east families with higher taxes and more debt.”

Stuart did vote against the income tax increase that was adopted as part of a budget in July 2017 over the governor’s veto.

On the other side of the mailer, Madigan is depicted with his arm around Stuart.

Another flier sent out in the 114th House District race calls Republican Jason Madlock a “sellout” who has “turned his back on hardworking families of the metro-east.”

The flier goes on to say Madlock stands with Springfield insiders.

Madlock, who is challenging state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis in the November election, again has never been an elected legislator in Springfield.

Madlock took the attack flier in stride.

“First and foremost I’m appreciative to any kind of publicity I could get,” Madlock said.

He said that the statement that he has turned his back on metro-east families is ridiculous.

“In all honesty, I’m not trying to talk badly about my opponent, but these are things she’s done. I’m actually the guy that is actually going to the union meetings,” Madlock said. “I’m the guy who’s talking to the people in the area. I’m trying to figure out what they want so if elected I could provide what they want.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451; @JoeBReporter.