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Quinn Pushes Back on Hynes's Harold Washington Ad

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 25, 2010 6:20PM

If you were following the Democratic gubernatorial primary last week, you saw the explosion of furor over an ad that Dan Hynes ran, using Harold Washington's words to smear Governor Pat Quinn. The ad made it seem like Washington had fired Quinn from his position as Washington's revenue director, and that Washington regarded Quinn with contempt and disgust. But like many things in politics (especially here in Illinois) there's often more to the story than what's being told.

The Quinn campaign has worked hard over the last five days to frame Washington's statements in the proper context, while pointing out that Tom Hynes, Dan's father, left the Democratic party to run against Washington in 1987. "It is true that Mayor Washington hired Pat Quinn to clean up the City of Chicago’s revenue department. It also is true that, after eight months, Pat Quinn handed in his resignation," said Elizabeth Austin, Quinn's Communications Director. The Quinn campaign also produced Jacky Grimshaw, director of Washington's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and his 1987 campaign manager, to put Washington's comments into context. “Mayor Harold Washington addressed issues that were getting public attention in his own inimitable way,” Grimshaw said. “Pat Quinn was with Harold Washington from the start, long before it was the politically popular thing to do. This episode in no way decreased the friendship and regard that Harold had for Pat Quinn.”

The kerfuffle has stirred up so much interest, at least in the media, that Eric Zorn dug up a Tribune article from that time for context. And while the race between Hynes and Quinn has tightened up in recent days, Quinn appeared over the weekend at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition forum with other progressive Chicago politicians to denounce Dan Hynes and the ad. With the primary just over a week away, we're hoping that a more constructive debate on the future of the state will take place going forward. With the state's GOP anxious to take both Barack Obama's former senate seat, and staring at a shot at the governor's mansion, it's not likely that the mudbath will end anytime soon.