GOP candidates swarm to flip Ill. governorship red

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in Springfield, Ill.(Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP File)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in Springfield, Ill. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP File)

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UPDATED 5:00 PM PT – Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The wealthiest governor in the U.S. has announced his run for reelection in the Land of Lincoln. On Monday, Illinois Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he was inspired to run again in part because of his observations of healthcare workers during the pandemic.

“Part of why I’m running for reelection is because I watched the heroes across our state step up and do the right thing,” he stated. “We had so much to accomplish and we were able to do that together.”

However, Pritzker’s governorship hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. In November, voters rejected a graduated income tax that he personally advocated for.

Pritzker has been faced with numerous challengers in the Republican party for his seat. State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Ill.) has been a long time Pritzker critic.

During the lockdowns in October, Bailey sued to end Pritzker’s emergency powers. Running for governor, Bailey expressed plans to reverse high gas prices and taxes, which he blamed Pritzker for letting get worse.

“Thanks to Pritzker’s gas tax increase, failed agenda, and lack of leadership, fuel is high and hope is low across Illinois,” he explained. “Friends, do not give up. We are in this fight with you.”

Bailey has not been alone in his fight to fire Pritzker from the governor’s mansion. The Trump-supporting self-made millionaire Gary Rabine threw his hat in the ring in March.

Promising pro-police and pro-business reforms to the state, Rabine said he wanted to take his home state in a new direction. He added the governorship was bought by Pritzker.

“J.B. Pritzker is a California trust fund billionaire who came here and bought our governorship,” he asserted. “It’s time to turn things around. I’m Gary Rabine and I’m formally announcing my run for governor of Illinois.”

The final GOP candidate recently announced was Marine Corps veteran and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Ill.). He has promised to take on what he has seen as deep seated corruption in Illinois.

He added he hoped to use his military experience to unite Illinoisans across the political spectrum.

“I haven’t spent my life trying to be a politician. I spent my life in the military and if you’re going to be successful in the military, you have to be able to do two things,” he stated. “First, you’ve got to be able to work with people across the political and social spectrum.”

While Pritzker faces opposition from his left flank in the Democrat primary, he has been widely expected to be renominated for governor. If he goes on to win reelection, Pritzker would be the first incumbent governor to win reelection in Illinois since Democrat Rod Blagojevich in 2006.

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