CHICAGO — Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker secured a second term in office with a victory over Xenia Republican State Sen. Darren Bailey, according to projections by the Associated Press and New York Times.
Pritzker was projected as the winner by newswires almost immediately after polls closed, but it remains to be seen whether Pritzker’s margin of victory will exceed the more than 14 percentage points by which Pritzker defeated his Republican predecessor Bruce Rauner.
Find unofficial results updated below as votes are counted in the 2022 midterms in Illinois.
After setting the self-financing record by spending more than $161 million of his own money on his first run for governor for years ago, Pritzker, a billionaire heir to the Hyatt fortune, spent more than $150 million of his own cash in his reelection bid.
In the home stretch of the campaign, Pritzker began broadcasting television ads with former President Barack Obama and rallied with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. He has aimed to portray his opponent as too extreme for the state, highlighting Bailey’s outspoken opposition to abortion rights and firearm regulations.
Bailey’s campaign had comparably less cash to toss around, although it has been supported by tens of millions of dollars worth of advertisements financed by another billionaire — Lake Forest shipping supply magnate Richard Uihlein.
Most of the advertisements produced by Uihlein’s independent expenditure committee attack Pritzker on the subjects of crime and taxes. The group, People Who Play By The Rules PAC, is run by Florida-based radio host and political operative Dan Proft.
Since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois, Bailey has been a prominent critic of the governor’s policies. A state representative at the time, he took Pritzker to court following the first extension of the governor’s stay-at-home order and initially won a restraining order that restricted state officials from enforcing the order on him.
State and federal judges would go on to uphold most of Pritzker’s pandemic policies, until a Sangamon County judge tossed out a statewide mask mandate for schools.
Bailey refused to wear a mask when state lawmakers returned to Springfield for a four-day special session at the Bank of Springfield in May 2020 — the first since the start of the pandemic. He was escorted out on the first day, with some Republican legislators voting along with Democrats to remove him from the premises. Bailey returned for the rest of the session and complied with the mask mandate.
The next time the General Assembly met, at a January 2021 special session, Bailey made headlines for collapsing on the House floor. House Republican leader Jim Durkin later attributed the fall to “gastrointestinal issues.” Bailey launched his campaign for governor the following month, going on to win about 57 percent of the vote in a six-way GOP primary in June.
Pritzker’s spending supported Bailey in the primary. Through the Democratic Governors Association, Pritzker financed attack ads against Bailey’s primary opponent who was perceived as the greater threat in a general elections, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. The group also financed spots claiming Bailey was “too conservative,” which appeared to have boosted the primary prospects of the Southern Illinois farmer and first-term state senator.
The Libertarian Party nominee, Scott Schluter, is projected to finish third when vote-counting is complete. Schluter is the longtime chair of the Southern Illinois Libertarian Party, a diesel technician and an Iraq War veteran.
Unofficial election results via the Associated Press. Late arriving vote by mail and provisional ballots are not included in the tally.
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November 8, 2022 at 07:17PM