The three Republican state representatives who strayed from the party line to vote in favor of same-sex marriage last year are now fighting for their political lives ahead of Tuesday's primary election in Illinois.
In suburban Downers Grove, incumbent state rep. Ron Sandack was targeted this month by a mailer sent out by a group called Illinois Family Action claiming, "You can kiss the GOP goodbye with officials who vote like Democrats" next to an image of two men kissing, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The IFA group has also targeted representatives Ed Sullivan Jr., running for reelection in Mundelein, and Tom Cross, who is running for state treasurer, with ads criticizing their votes for same-sex marriage. Sullivan and Cross were the only other Republican state reps who joined Sandack in supporting the marriage equality bill, which was signed into law last fall and goes into effect in June.
Another mailer targeting Sandack from radio talk show host Dan Proft's Liberty Principles PAC features a photo of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wearing a leotard next to a message reading, "Now we know where Ron Sandack learned how to dance," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The PAC is spending $13,500 on the Sandack attack ads, the AP reports.
Per the AP, yet another conservative political action committee, Illinois Families First, is also joining the campaigns against Sandack and Sullivan by backing robo-calls and raising money.
Sandack's challenger, Keith Matune, and Sullivan's opponent, Bob Bednar, both oppose same-sex marriage.
"I'm trying to expand our party," Sandack told ABC Chicago of his vote for same-sex marriage. "I'm trying to win hearts and minds by being inclusive. And I think some folks don't like that."
For its part, LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois' Illinois Unity PAC is backing Sandack and Sullivan's reelection efforts with a reported $150,000 in spending.