Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Oberweis Targets Single Moms in New Ad

The GOP senatorial candidate learns from past mistakes in a new-and-improved radio spot

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jim Oberweis, are you listening?

    Last month we criticized Oberweis' campaign for missing the mark in targeting women voters with a weak, patriarchal ad narrated by a male voice that sounded like Burl Ives' jolly snowman in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

    Now the GOP senatorial candidate has released a new-and-improved radio spot using a woman narrator instead of a man to introduce a pro-Oberweis testimonial geared toward single moms.

    "It was a very stressful time in my life," testifies a thirtysomething staffer of Oberweis' Aurora-based dairy company. "Suddenly I found myself a single mother in my early thirties with a 2-year-old boy. I thought I'd have to move back home, put my career on hold. Oberweis Dairy came to the rescue. They valued my work, allowed me to rearrange my schedule to take care of my boy, provide for my family and preserve my career. Today my life is back on track. I'm forever grateful to Jim Oberweis for creating a workplace that went out of its way to value my family and me."

    Quoth the narrator: "As your next U.S. senator from Illinois, Jim Oberweis will bring that same compassion and business sense to Washington DC, where it is sorely needed."

    While the earlier Burl Ives impersonation verged on patronizing, the relatable, authoritative female voice helps to push Oberweis' message out of the 1950s and into the 21st century. It's possible that young single moms on the fence about Oberweis will be more responsive to a glowing endorsement from one of their own -- or one who sounds like their own -- if they're leaning toward voting for the Republican businessman over Democrat Dick Durbin.

    Oberweis -- who famously smeared immigrants during his failed 2004 run for U.S. Senate --  is pivoting his 2014 campaign in an attempt to encroach upon Durbin's turf and steal away supporters of the long-time senator who traditionally vote Democratic. Besides women, Oberweis has been courting African-American voters and was recently seen at an anti-violence event on Chicago's South Side. Last week, he challenged Durbin to seven debates ahead of November's election and has railed against his opponent for policies he deems disastrous for the "poor and middle class."

    But Durbin, with the advantage of incumbency, maintains a lead in the polls. If Oberweis wants to be considered a serious contender, he'll have to ramp up his efforts to rehab his fuddy-duddy image and modernize his campaign. That means he must carefully avoid slip-ups such as the "binders full of women" comment that derailed Mitt Romney's presidential prospects.

    Take a listen to Oberweis' latest radio spot, courtesy of Capitol Fax.