Chicago, Illinois - It is questionable whether GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's trolling mascot 'Quinnocchio' warranted a front page story this morning. Not that it stopped the Chicago Tribune from giving it one.
"TV attack ads remain and can still move poll numbers, but they're buttressed by pesky video trackers, parody Twitter accounts, witty Web videos, and yes, the occasional mascot [like Quinnocchio] come to life," writes Tribune reporter Monique Garcia.
But parody Twitter accounts, web videos, and mascot trolls can backfire on a political candidate like Rauner too.
Team Rauner says the 'Quinnocchio' character reminds voters about Gov. Pat Quinn's record. The Quinn camp charges the mascot is just a cheap political stunt. But political theater is political theater. You never know what can help or hurt.
Recently, I ran into Bruce Rauner's mascot - Quinnocchio. Literally.
See the video:
It was a unique opportunity to find out who Quinnocchio really is.
Is he just an actor in creepy mask from a talent agency? Is he a policy wonk in disguise? Was he hired by Bruce Rauner's pals at the Illinois Policy Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) group that Rauner has contributed $500,000 to? How much is Quinnocchio paid and who is paying him ? And with Rauner's connections to Stuart Levine - just where has Quinnocchio's nose really been?
Who is this Quinnocchio? I wanted to know.
The high-pitched squeaky Quinnocchio dude wasn't really in the mood to answer those questions that day and ran away from me a few times (as fast as his little legs could carry him) and a hot pursuit chase ensued. Quinnocchio, thinking he had gotten away, finally stripped off his mask in the end. Fortunately for me - unfortunate for the Rauner campaign - my cameraman and I caught it all on tape.
The real fun begins at 3:30 and Quinnochio's true identity is revealed at 5:24.
I never did catch the name of this Quinnocchio character but one thing is for certain - after this little encounter - I'd bet his hourly rate has definitely gone up.