Illinois voters have pitted a billionaire against a staunch conservative for the upcoming general elections. Democrats picked incumbent JB Pritzker while conservative state Senator Darren Bailey was given the nomination by Republicans.
Bailey defeated five other Republicans to win the nomination. The farmer from Xenia is an abortion opponent who received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement Saturday.
GOP’s Bailey received 57.4% votes in Tuesday’s primary elections to secure his nomination. JB Pritzker, on the other hand, was largely unchallenged and received 91.9% of the ballots in Illinois.
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 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.
Taking the stage at his victory party, Bailey criticized “elites” like Pritzker, the GOP establishment and others who say he cannot win in November. He pledged to outwork his opponent and stand up for regular, working people across Illinois.
“We were outspent by tens of millions of dollars in the primary and look what happened tonight. This is how it’s done,” Bailey said.
Pritzker defeated a much lesser-known rival, Beverly Miles, for the nomination. He has said he’s not afraid of any rival heading into November.
“I’ll face anybody on the other side of the aisle and we’ll win,” Pritzker said.