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Campaign Ads - Governor Jim Thompson Project

Jim Thompson was new to politics when he launched his first campaign for governor in 1975. For those in the Chicago area, his was a familiar name. He was the U.S. Attorney who fought against public corruption, sending former Governor Otto Kerner to jail, along with scores of other public officials. As far as Thompson was concerned, it gave him the credentials to run for governor for a large and diverse state.

The next step, then, was to make himself known not just to those in the Chicago area, but to all Illinoisans. He campaigned hard in downstate Illinois, and learned quickly the importance of introducing himself to voters.  His standard line?  “Hello, my name is Jim Thompson, and I’m running for Governor.” But Thompson knew that grassroots campaigning was not enough. He hired Washington, D.C. based political consultants Doug Bailey and John Deardorff as well as pollster Bob Teeter to develop a series of campaign ads. They created a couple of longer spots designed to introduce the candidate to the voters, then produced a series of 30-second ads with the candidate talking to voters on the street. Following Thompson’s victory in the Republican primary, they added several ads using the candidate’s own words during his speech on primary night. None of the ads mentioned Michael Howlett, his Democratic opponent; there would be no mud-slinging in this campaign. Instead, the ads focused on Thompson’s record of success as U.S. Attorney, and his pledge to be a tough, honest leader, with compassion for the needy and the taxpayer. 

Interview Links

Excerpt 01 (Video)

Introducing Jim Thompson to the Illinois Public

Excerpt 02 (Video)

More background on Jim Thompson

Excerpt 03 (Video)

Thompson’s accomplishments in the U.S. Attorney’s office

Excerpt 04 (Video)

Jim Thompson asks voters to give him more help in Springfield – vote Republican

Excerpt 05 (Video)

Thompson recalls when students were graded for character, and promises to set a good example

Excerpt 06 (Video)

Dave O’Neal, integrity and a pledge to declare every cent of campaign donations

Excerpt 07 (Video)

Thompson hears about the burden of health care bills. “Stories like yours shouldn’t happen.”

Excerpt 08 (Video)

Thompson went after corruption as U.S. Attorney

Excerpt 09 (Video)

On-the-street voters declare they’ll vote for Thompson

Excerpt 10 (Video)

Democrats and liberals for Thompson

Excerpt 11 (Video)

“Never be afraid to do what’s right.”

Excerpt 12 (Video)

“The primaries are over, but the battle has just begun.”

Excerpt 13 (Video)

No more half-truths and double-talk. “Trust the people with the truth.”

Excerpt 14 (Video)

“Jailing dishonest officials just isn’t as important as electing honest ones."

Excerpt 15 (Video)

What Illinois needs is tough, honest leaders with compassion for the needy and the taxpayers

Excerpt 16 (Video)

Governor Thompson's administration put to song Gilbert & Sullivan's "Ruler of the Queen's Navee"

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