The most high-profile and contentious race in Illinois this election cycle is the race for governor. There are three candidates on the ballot: incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Republican challenger state Sen. Darren Bailey and Libertarian Scott Schluter.
First elected in 2018, Pritzker is now running for a second term. A venture capitalist and heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, Pritzker’s net worth is an estimated $3.6 billion, according to Forbes – making him the richest elected official in the U.S. and capable of self-funding his campaigns. He spent more than $171.5 million of his personal fortune on his first run and has put another $152 million into his campaign account since.
That money has kept him on the airwaves consistently on a range of topics: he’s touted his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, the legalization of recreational cannabis, his infrastructure plan to improve Illinois’ roads and bridges, as well as the state’s credit rating upgrades since he’s taken office.
But like many other campaigns in Illinois and across the U.S., one issue that’s loomed larger than most in his messaging is abortion. Pritzker has repeatedly emphasized Illinois’ laws protecting abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year, sending the issue to the states.
Many states have since moved to restrict abortion or implement near-total bans, which has led to an influx of abortion patients coming to Illinois from other states. Pritzker has also made abortion a key part of his ads criticizing Bailey, for supporting restrictions on abortion and for previously comparing abortion to the Holocaust.
For his part, Bailey has made crime the focus of his messaging criticizing Pritzker, taking particular aim at the SAFE-T Act, a criminal justice reform measure that Pritzker signed into law last year, ending cash bail by 2023, requiring all officers to wear body cameras by 2025 and banning police chokeholds, among several other changes. Some state’s attorneys have sued over the measure, which could see changes when lawmakers return to Springfield after the election.
A third-generation farmer from downstate Xenia, Bailey served one term in the Illinois House of Representatives beginning in 2019 before successfully running for the 55th District state Senate seat in 2020. He garnered more widespread name recognition when he sued Pritzker over the governor’s stay-at-home order in the early days of the pandemic. In the legislature, Bailey is part of the “Eastern Bloc,” which in 2019 backed a resolution to separate Chicago from the rest of the state. While Bailey has since walked back that effort, he has still been largely critical of the city, repeatedly calling it a “hellhole.”
He’s gotten the backing of shipping supply giant and GOP mega-donor Richard Uihlein, who has boosted Bailey’s campaign with more than $12 million and given another $42 million to a political action committee backing Bailey. Bailey also counts former President Donald Trump as a supporter, receiving his endorsement days before the June primary. That helped Bailey emerge as the GOP nominee from a crowded field, winning 57% of the vote against five other candidates, all seeking to showcase their conservative credentials.
Schluter, of Marion, is an Air Force veteran, a diesel technician and the chair of the Southern Illinois Libertarian Party, according to his website.
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October 25, 2022 at 05:31PM