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Democrat Mendoza: Illinois Republican Party 'Creepily Stalking' Her

(CBS) -- An increasingly bitter political battle between two top Illinois officials has entered a new phase: car wars.

As Democrat Susana Mendoza left the state capital Thursday and entered her state-purchased vehicle, she was followed by an Illinois GOP operative who shot video of her.

Republicans later tweeted about Mendoza's "loaded," luxurious ride.

The implication is that state government may be broke, but Mendoza's living large on the taxpayer's dime.

Mendoza was furious, saying in a counter-tweet that the Illinois Republican Party was "creepily stalking me."

It's the latest flap between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mendoza over who's doing the most to look out for taxpayers.

But does the GOP's charge really hold up?

Mendoza's ride is a 2016 Ford Explorer, purchased used in January, with 16,431 miles. Total cost was $32,279.

An invoice provided to CBS 2 shows Gov. Rauner's main ride is newer, larger and more expensive.

It's a Ford Expedition XLT with extended length. It was purchased new, last December, by state police, at a cost $54,000. That is 67 percent more than Mendoza's car.

A Rauner spokesperson points out state police purchased the new vehicle – not Rauner's office – even though the governor uses it. State police, of course, report directly to the governor.

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