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A republican candidate for governor, who has fought Governor JB Pritzker’s Covid orders and said he won’t encourage people to get the vaccine, has a close relative fighting for his life.

Church members are asking for prayers for state senator Darren Bailey’s brother-in-law, who they say is hospitalized with Covid-related illness.

Bailey made a name for himself challenging coronavirus capacity limits in court and refusing to wear a mask on the house floor.

Now running for governor, he’s tapping into coronavirus frustrations to fuel his campaign momentum.

At a Tuesday campaign stop in Springfield, Bailey raged against pandemic protocols.

What he did not say is that his wife’s brother is battling COVID-19 from a hospital bed.

According to fellow church members, Bailey’s own brother-in-law was transferred to a hospital in St. Louis under a medically induced coma for specialized treatment.

The church is asking for urgent prayers while Bailey sows doubts about public health data that shows vaccines are effective.

Public health data shows nearly 98% of Illinois patients who died due to covid-19 illness this year did not have the vaccine.

Pritzker responded to the reports and said leadership is about listening to experts.

“I am sorry for his brother-in-law who is hospitalized with COVID-19,” he said. “Misinformation is killing people.  And people who are promoting misinformation, people who are not listening to the science, are not helping anyone.  We need leaders in the state of Illinois listening to the science.”

 “They are smart enough to figure out what to do in their own little realm, so whatever that is in their community, in their place of work,” Bailey said.  “It’s up to us.  A government cannot and should never tell its people how to live, how to behave, what to do.”

Bailey campaigned on promises to end all Covid restrictions, eliminate gun ID laws, end state funding for abortion services and cut state spending.

He made it clear he wouldn’t require mandatory vaccinations.

Bailey told a closed-door meeting of republicans last week that was not vaccinated.

Bailey’s campaign released a statement claiming the candidate’s relative’s Covid illness is being exploited for political purposes. 

“This is a virus, there’s no hiding from it,” the statement read. “It’s exceedingly rare that people without serious risk factors become critically ill… extremely rare, but it does happen.  It’s a tough situation for his family and they covet your prayers.”