Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY RACHEL HIN­TON, STAFF RE­PORTER rhin­ton@sun­ | @rrhin­ton

An at­tack ad re­leased this week de­pict­ing Cook County com­mis­sioner can­di­date Kevin Mor­ri­son as a pup­pet prompted the Demo­cratic chal­lenger to dub his op­po­nent “a ho­mo­phobe” Thurs­day — an al­le­ga­tion Repub­li­cans called “de­spi­ca­ble.”

The ad shows Mor­ri­son with a “limp wrist,” Mor­ri­son said, a “big­oted car­i­ca­ture of gay peo­ple.”

But zoom out on the ad, and you’ll see Illi­nois House Speaker Mike Madi­gan pulling the strings on Mor­ri­son. Com­mis­sioner Tim Sch­nei­der, R-Bartlett, and the Illi­nois GOP, which Sch­nei­der leads, are call­ing Mor­ri­son a Madi­gan pup­pet.

Travis Ster­ling, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Illi­nois GOP, which sent out the ad, said Mor­ri­son’s re­sponse is just an at­tempt to dis­tract from the ac­tual mes­sage of the ad.

“The whole im­age paints the en­tire pic­ture clearly,” Ster­ling said in a state­ment. “This is noth­ing but a des­per­ate at­tempt from Kevin Mor­ri­son to try and hide the fact that he takes his or­ders from Tony Preck­win­kle and Mike Madi­gan.”

Cook County Board Pres­i­dent Toni Preck­win­kle is chair­man of the Cook County Demo­cratic Party, which has al­ready spent nearly $156,000 on Mor­ri­son’s cam­paign against Sch­nei­der.

Mor­ri­son has also taken con­tri­bu­tions from unions with an own­er­ship stake in the Chicago Sun-Times, in­clud­ing the Chicago Fed­er­a­tion of La­bor, the Chicago Re­gional Coun­cil of Car­pen­ters PAC, the Con­struc­tion and Gen­eral La­bor­ers Dis­trict Coun­cil of Chicago and Vicin­ity and the Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tional Illi­nois Coun­cil PAC.

In the last five years, Gov. Bruce Rauner has con­trib­uted more than $36 mil­lion to the Illi­nois Repub­li­can Party that Sch­nei­der leads.

Mor­ri­son said that he hasn’t re­ceived a penny from Madi­gan, and the at­tacks aren’t truth­ful. If elected, he’d be the first openly LGBTQ com­mis­sioner to serve on the County Board.

He sent out a fundrais­ing let­ter Thurs­day fea­tur­ing a cropped ver­sion of the Repub­li­can ad, just zero­ing in on the pup­pet ver­sion of him­self, iso­lat­ing the “limp wrist,” and call­ing it “a dog whis­tle to ho­mo­phobes.”

“The fact of the mat­ter would be that, for one, it is Na­tional Com­ing Out Day, and he sends out his first at­tack ad with his Rauner money against an LGBT can­di­date de­pict­ing me with a limp wrist, which ev­ery­one knows is a car­i­ca­ture to shame LGBT in­di­vid­u­als,” Mor­ri­son said. “The point of the mat­ter is that I haven’t re­ceived a penny from Madi­gan, and those at­tacks are un­founded.”

Mor­ri­son also pointed to Sch­nei­der vot­ing against a mea­sure in 2016 to boy­cott North Carolina and North Carolina-based busi­nesses for their bath­room bill, which tried to limit ac­cess to pub­lic re­strooms for trans­gen­der peo­ple. Ac­cord­ing to county records, Sch­nei­der voted nay on the boy­cotting mea­sure. He did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

In a video of the meet­ing, Sch­nei­der says that while he un­der­stands “the sen­ti­ments” be­hind the res­o­lu­tion “I do be­lieve that sub­ject­ing busi­nesses that are not in fa­vor of what their state is do­ing … and their em­ploy­ees to boy­cotts and things that would harm them would be detri­men­tal to them.”

Mor­ri­son says that Sch­nei­der’s record speaks for it­self.

“His record shows no kind­ness to the com­mu­nity,” Mor­ri­son said. “It’s a sign of des­per­a­tion. This is the first ad he sends out, and it isn’t an in­tro­duc­tory piece — no, he sends out an at­tack ad be­cause he rec­og­nizes we have mo­men­tum be­hind our cam­paign.”


Tim Sch­nei­der Part of the ad the Illi­nois GOP sent out last week sup­port­ing Com­mis­sioner Tim Sch­nei­der.

Kevin Mor­ri­son

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