Illinois primary for governor is a battle between billionaires : NPR



Darren Bailey, Illinois state Senator and Republican candidate for governor, speaks alongside former President Donald Trump on Saturday, June 25, 2022, during a rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill. Trump has endorsed Bailey in the race.

Brian Munoz/St. Louis Public Radio


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Darren Bailey, Illinois state Senator and Republican candidate for governor, speaks alongside former President Donald Trump on Saturday, June 25, 2022, during a rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill. Trump has endorsed Bailey in the race.

Brian Munoz/St. Louis Public Radio

CHICAGO – Voters in Illinois are seeing first-hand what money can buy when it comes to political office.

Three different mega-donors are spending tens of millions of dollars to try to influence the outcome of the Republican primary for Illinois governor in Tuesday’s election.

One is billionaire Democratic incumbent Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, but he hasn’t been spending millions of his personal wealth all on his own campaign.

He and the Democratic Governors Association have been attempting to help ultraconservative GOP Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump Saturday.

Pritzker’s and the DGA’s strategy appears to be that Bailey would be one of the easier Republican candidates to beat in November’s election, with their ads echoing that Bailey’s policies “are just too conservative for Illinois.”

It’s not uncommon for one party to get involved in the other’s primary, but it doesn’t always work.


Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a transgender support rally at Federal Building Plaza on April 27, 2022 in Chicago. Pritzker, a Democrat, is up for reelection in November.

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In this case, Republican primary voters seem to be buying into it.

The Democrats’ ads speak a coded language to Republican voters, and Bailey appears to have welcomed the help to win the crowded primary.

“I think it’s obvious Gov. Pritzker thinks I’m the easiest candidate to beat, and my message to Gov. Pritzker is ‘be careful what you wish for because it’s coming right toward you,’ ” Bailey and Illinois ABC TV station. “The people of Illinois are absolutely fed up with the state of our…



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