Campaign-style tactics fueling legislative gridlock

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — An already challenging legislative session has grown even trickier as Democrats and Republicans have begun targeting lawmakers with campaign-style ads and multimillion-dollar political committees.

The Democratic Party sent the first of what’s expected to be several mailers criticizing GOP lawmakers. Gov. Bruce Rauner dispensed $400,000 from his $20 million political fund to fellow Republicans. And two new PACs have banked about $13 million combined since last month.

Rauner is also expected to start spending millions of dollars starting June 1st, in high quality TV advertising attacking lawmakers who oppose the Rauner agenda.

It’s not unheard of for lawmakers to be targeted during a legislative session. But the activity is amped up this year as the election of a Republican governor brings a new dynamic to the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

With lawmakers heading into the session’s final week, some legislators say the heightened politicking is making progress tougher on major issues such as a new state budget.