A number of Chicago television stations, including NBC 5 and ABC 7, and at least one station downstate in Peoria, began pulling Bill Brady campaign ads Thursday for nonpayment.
The Brady campaign insisted it still has plenty of cash, and Brady himself called the matter a "glitch" with his media buyer as he made his way into a campaign appearance at the posh University Club in downtown Chicago Thursday. He insisted the matter was being worked out, and that his campaign was not facing a last minute funding crisis.
Spokesman Patty Schuh said the campaign had a planned buy of $3.3 million, starting last Monday, through the duration of the election cycle. That amount included a plan to share the buy with the Republican Governor's Association, which reportedly was picking up $1.1 million of the tab. At the last minute, Schuh says a decision was made to increase the RGA's portion to $1.8 million. It was during the change, she says, that some payments were not made by the campaign's media buyer in Washington.
But a spokesman for the buyer, Sandler-Innocenzi of Washington, D.C., told a slightly different story.
"We were instructed to re-work the buy," said project director Rebecca Kiessling. "We've pulled out from certain areas and we've changed things around," she said, insisting that the decision to not pay certain bills was merely a method of changing the buy.
A spokesman for one Chicago TV station said that would be unusual, that a more traditional method is for candidates to call the stations and cancel. Unlike most advertising, all political ads are paid in full in advance.
Brady's Democratic opponent, Gov. Pat Quinn, suggested the entire episode called into question the Republican's financial acumen.
"Sounds like they need to pay their bills," Quinn said at an afternoon appearance. "If you're running for governor, that's a good way to show the people you know what you're doing is to pay the bills."
Schuh maintained the decision to decrease the Brady organization's portion of the buy was not made because the campaign is low on cash.
"I think we've got a goal of raising about $360,000 left during the campaign," Brady said. "We're up against national insider union representatives. We're up against the trial lawyers. We're going to raise every dollar we can til the end of this campaign. We've got ample resources. We're going to continue to move forward."