Trump-endorsed state Sen. Darren Bailey earned a convincing victory Tuesday in the GOP primary for governor of Illinois, dispatching a candidate backed by the biggest donor in GOP politics amid a Democratic meddling campaign.
Bailey, a self-described “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment” candidate, shot to the top of the polls after months of competition against former favorite Richard Irvin, the mayor of Aurora who got a massive $50 million campaign infusion from Citadel’s founder and CEO Ken Griffin.
Bailey is a well-funded candidate himself, raising $9 million from GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein. But he also benefited from tens of millions in Democratic Party advertising, with Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and allies figuring Bailey would be the more beatable candidate to face in November.
In one commercial by the Democratic Governors Association, Bailey is described as “proudly embracing the Trump agenda,” a possible calling card for GOP voters and a distinguishing factor from his opponent.
Bailey has called for kicking Chicago out of Illinois, voted against gun control legislation and earned a late endorsement from Trump after calling the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade “historic and welcomed.”
Bailey faces serious obstacles in the general election. Illinois is a deep-blue state, with Pritzker winning his last election with 54.5 percent of the vote. One January 2022 polling matchup gave Pritzker about the same share of the vote in a prospective matchup against Bailey.