Sixth Congressional District Republican primary challenger Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)
For 41st Ward Committee candidate Ammie Kessem, truth trumps everything in the anything-goes word of political campaigning.
“I personally do not have a problem with push polls as long as they are truthful in nature,” Kessem, vice president of the Northwest Side GOP Club, told the North Cook News. “I absolutely cannot stand it when they bend the truth. Many of the polls I have personally received attempt to confuse a voter into thinking a certain way or make assumptions about candidates that sway a voter one way or another.”
The issue of so-called push polls has emerged as a hot-button campaign issue after 6th Congressional District candidate Jeanne Ives accused the campaign of former Republican primary challenger Evelyn Sanguinetti of bankrolling such a poll in an attempt to paint a false narrative about her that included claims that Ives is the “favorite Republican” of longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
41st Ward Committee candidate Ammie Kessem (R-Chicago)
Ives insisted the act was a repeat performance for Sanguinetti, as she was on the ticket with then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018 when he and Ives faced off in the GOP primary and he resorted to similar tactics. Push polls are defined as ones where negative information is provided about the candidate not favored by the group paying for the survey just before the person being surveyed is asked which candidate they prefer.
“I have not heard about the one Sanguinetti sent out,” Kessem said, adding that she thinks politics and campaigning in general have become too cutthroat. “I do not believe that Illinois politics have stooped any lower than the political scene has across the nation.”
Reports are the Ives poll included at least three push-poll questions directly comparing the two candidates with such assertions as Sanguinetti “spent 10 years fighting Mike Madigan,” while Ives is his “favorite Republican,” among them. The poll also made mention of Sanguinetti’s background as a first-generation American whose family fled Castro’s Cuba and how she “opposes AOC (Democratic Sen. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) and the Squad.”
Sanguinetti dropped out of the congressional race on Friday.
"Although I firmly believe that I can and will win the nomination if I stayed in the race, the question in my mind is at what cost,” she said in a statement. “There has been enough destruction in the Republican Party from past election cycles and I choose not to contribute further to it by engaging in a costly and negative campaign against my opponents.”
Only 5 months remain before voters go to the ballot box for the Republican primary where Ives and Dr. Jay Kinzler are set to battle for the right to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) in the November 2020 general election.