Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's primary opponent is suing the state Democratic Party leader over campaign advertising.
Jason Gonzales lost to Madigan in the March primary, receiving 27 percent of the votes. Now he’s suing Madigan for many reasons, including campaign ads saying Gonzales is a convicted felon, even though Gonzales was pardoned by Gov. Pat Quinn.
Gonzales also complains about two "false" candidates with Hispanic surnames, whom he says Madigan recruited to split the Latino vote.
"This isn’t about me being a sore loser. It isn’t about me crying because I lost," Gonzales said Monday at a press conference. "It’s about justice. It’s about justice for me. It’s about justice for every candidate who has come before and will go ahead."
Gonzales says the ads aired by Madigan caused him emotional distress. He is seeking a monetary award from his civil suit, but he did not say how much.
Madigan says the lawsuit is "without merit." He accused Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of propping up Gonzales.
"In the last primary election, friends of Bruce Rauner spend over $1 million in an Illinois House District in the Southwest side of Chicago attempting to remove me from office," Madigan said. "The voters of that district recognized who the enemy was and voted to keep me in office."
Madigan won the primary with 65% of the vote.
Amanda Vinicky and Tony Arnold contributed to this report.