Illinois primary election results pit downstate Sen. Darren Bailey against Gov. JB Pritzker

CHICAGO (WLS) — After Tuesday’s primary election, ABC News projects Sen. Darren Bailey won the Republican nomination for governor of Illinois, pitting him against Gov. JB Pritzker in November.

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Bailey was seen as more conservative than most other Republican challengers in the state, said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington; he is, in fact, perhaps Pritzker’s most conservative challenger.

But Washington noted that Bailey had built a solid foundation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he spoke out against the lockdown, mask mandates and distance learning. He sued Pritzker over a stay-at-home order issued by the governor and was escorted off the floor of the Legislative Assembly for refusing to wear a mask.

Taking the stage at his victory party, Bailey blasted “elites” like Pritzker, the GOP establishment and others who say he can’t win in November. He pledged to outdo his adversary and stand up for the regular workers of Illinois.

“Here’s a tip and some advice for JB Pritzker: Start packing, my friend. Because on November 8th you’re fired,” he said. “Illinois is much worse than four years ago, it’s much worse than 40 years ago and it’s time to move on.”

Bailey spoke to ABC7 Chicago in upstate Effingham on Wednesday morning.

After a stunning primary victory, Bailey pauses to catch her breath for just a moment before shifting into high gear again, now focusing on Pritzker and the November election.

“It feels good to look back on the efforts of your hard work and see that, you know, things paid off, so better at the end of the day. It’s just another day where we’re going. mission is the same. The goals are the same and we’re moving on,” he said.

Employment and crime will be his main problems.

But so will the endorsement he received from former President Donald Trump, which Pritzker will use to attack Bailey in that state, where Democrats far outnumber Republicans.

The race looks like a classic David vs. Goliath battle, with Bailey saying he doesn’t care about opponents in his own party.

“I just say, ‘what do we have to lose?’ We had naysayers; they said there was no way I could win the primary, and they backed somebody and wasted millions of dollars, and when we knew all along that the Illinois people thought differently. So I think it’s going to be pretty amazing what’s going to happen,” he said.

Bailey will enter the campaign trail in the coming days, with plans to take part in some July 4 parades.

Irvin, the former frontrunner whose campaign was torpedoed by $35 million in negative ads aired against him by Pritzker and his allies, struck a triumphant note with supporters even after losing the nomination. He did not mention Bailey in his speech but instead talked about the future of Illinois and Pritzker.

“Look, I hope this governor is wrong in his assessment that he can easily defeat the opponent he paid tens of millions of dollars for. But, if this governor is right, and if he wins easily, we as citizens have to stand up,” Irvin said.

Irvin had the support of the richest man in the state, Ken Griffin, who helped elect Bruce Rauner governor. Griffin poured $50 million into Irvin’s campaign, including $30 million spent on television and radio ads, but that didn’t quite move the needle.

“Pritzker kept us from winning tonight, but he couldn’t stop us from changing so many hearts and minds across the state,” Irvin said.

Sullivan also addressed his supporters after losing his nomination bid on Tuesday, thanking them and his family for their support.

The young father and venture capitalist based his entire campaign on family values, his Christian faith and military service.

He leaned heavily on moral issues, speaking out strongly against abortion, and often spoke about how politicians and government had no place in classrooms or controlled school curricula.

Sullivan saw a last-minute push with the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and he leaned heavily on that momentum, trying to get Republican votes in the Chicago area.

The first-time venture capitalist turned candidate is popular in his hometown of farmers and state employees, just north of Springfield.

Having lost his bid, he threw his full support behind Bailey and encouraged all of his constituents to do the same.

Bailey also dismissed the idea that Pritzker’s campaign against Irvin is the reason he’s about to win.

“Let them say what they want to say, there’s no doubt about that. It’s our hard work ethic. It’s our campaign’s work ethic, people who’ve had the, you know, come around the table to work with us,” he said. said.

Former Gov. Jim Edgar worries about the negative impact of a Bailey primary victory.

“We would have the most right-wing slate we’ve ever had for the general election in Illinois, and I don’t think that’s good for the Republican Party in Illinois,” Edgar said. “Not only do I think they’re struggling to win, but I think they can hold back voters.”

During his victory speech, Pritzker lambasted Bailey.

“Let’s be clear, someone who seeks and accepts the endorsement of a racist, misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic former president does not deserve to approach the highest office in this state,” he said.

The governor said voters will have an easy choice in November.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade’s removal of the constitutional right to abortion will be the focus of Pritzker’s campaign.

He said Bailey was too extreme for Illinois. He also confirmed Wednesday that he has no plans to run for president, saying he looks forward to four more years at the helm of Illinois.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also responded to Bailey’s victory on Twitter, saying, “We in Illinois cannot allow Darren Bailey near the executive office under any circumstances. To protect women, our diverse communities and our mental health – Vote @JBPritzker in November.

Three other candidates vying for the Republican nomination were Gary Rabine, Paul Schimpf and Max Solomon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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