State Sen. Darren Bailey is the projected winner of the Republican nomination for governor in Illinois, according to Decision Desk HQ.
Bailey was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and will face incumbent Democrat J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who easily won the Democratic nomination
Bailey, is a farmer who received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement Saturday. Bailey raised his statewide profile during the pandemic by opposing Pritzker’s COVID-19 measures. He sued Pritzker over a stay-at-home order the governor issued, and was escorted off the floor of the Legislature for refusing to wear a mask.
Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune who is seeking his second term, and the Democratic Governors Association spent heavily on advertising to help Bailey win the GOP primary, including with ads noting he is “100% pro-life.” While those messages have raised Bailey's standing with Republican voters, they are likely to hurt him in a general election in a place where Democrats control all statewide offices and voters twice rejected Trump by double digits.
Bailey rejected the idea that he cannot win and criticized “establishment Republicans” for contributing to decades of mismanagement in the state.
“We’re going to send a message to the Republican establishment that we will not be bullied into sacrificing our principles to elect their candidates," he told a crowd at a campaign stop in rural Illinois this month.
Bailey defeated Richard Irvin, a former prosecutor who was the first Black mayor of Illinois' second-largest city. Unlike Bailey and his four other rivals, Irvin avoided talking about abortion or saying whether he voted for Trump. The mayor of Aurora instead focused on issues such as crime in Chicago and legislation signed by Pritzker that he said made policing harder. He said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother.
Irvin also argued that he was the only GOP candidate who could beat Pritzker in November because he could win votes from Republicans, independents and some Democrats.
The other Republican candidates were business owner Gary Rabine, venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf and attorney Max Solomon.
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