CHICAGO — With the general election now underway, Governor J.B. Pritzker and State Senator Darren Bailey are sharpening their attacks.
“The Illinois Republican Party has nominated a right wing extremist in Darren Bailey, someone endorsed by Donald Trump,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.
Pritzker’s team said Bailey—a downstate farmer—is far too conservative for Illinois.
Bailey is a proud supporter of former President Trump, who said he doesn’t want to discuss the January 6 hearings in Washington.
“I’m going to be perfectly honest with you,” said Bailey. “I have been so focused on the state of Illinois and I will remain focused on the state of Illinois.”
If Trump seeks reelection, Bailey said he will support him.
“If [Trump] runs for president, Illinois will roll out the red carpet for him,” Bailey said.
On the campaign trail, Bailey has argued gun violence in Illinois out of control, especially in Chicago.
But as he looks to grow support, Bailey has also softened his language, even going as far as to say he’d like to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“I have faith in Chicago,” Bailey said. “I have hope in Chicago.”
On the other end of Illinois’ gubernatorial race, Pritzker said he hopes to make abortion a key issue in the campaign. Bailey opposes abortion rights.
“We want to make sure that we’re expanding access,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker recently visited New Hampshire and he’s building relationships with national Democratic leaders. But he has denied interest in running for president.
“Look,” Pritzker said. “I’m focused on running for reelection as governor.”
Bailey said he’ll take part in as many debates as Governor Pritzker will agree to. The governor, though, is not ready to commit to a specific number.
“That’s not something we’ve talked about. I don’t know,” Pritzker said. “I certainly will do a debate with Darren Bailey.”
Moving forward, Bailey said he wants to meet with state party leaders Don Tracy, Dan McConchie, and Jim Durkin to discuss “failed Republican leadership.”