A group of candidates looking to get the chance to go up against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker this fall are making their final pitches to voters as the state prepares for its first-ever June primary election.
The late-arriving primary led to a prolonged fight between candidates looking to battle Pritzker, with State Sen. Darren Bailey, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and businessman Jesse Sullivan all competing for every last vote in Tuesday’s election.
“I think Governor Pritzker is delusioned in everything he does,” Bailey said of Pritzker. “He’s a failed leader. What has he done to help all of us?”
Bailey could potentially be the favorite to secure the nomination Tuesday, and is riding high after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump over the weekend.
Sullivan, who has made gains in the race and is angling for a large turnout in Tuesday’s race, compared himself to another potential 2024 presidential candidate during his final pitch to voters.
“If you want the Ron DeSantis of the Midwest, I’m your guy,” he said during a campaign rally.
Both Bailey and Sullivan could potentially finish ahead of Irvin, who despite receiving a slew of high-profile endorsements from Republican lawmakers and $50 million in campaign cash from billionaire Ken Griffin appears to be running out of steam amid an onslaught of negative advertising from the Democratic Governors’ Association, as well as from Pritzker himself.
“I think the problem that Mayor Irvin had was that he couldn’t decide who exactly he wanted to be,” SIU Professor John Jackson said.
As for Pritzker himself, he in all likelihood will secure the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, but his attention is already cast toward the future, as he’ll spend another $1 million on advertising as part of a ramp-up of campaign activities following the election.
He’ll appear at a rally with Sen. Tammy Duckworth and other officials on Tuesday, according to officials.
Pritzker has received some criticism for his appearance at recent events in New Hampshire, which some political insiders feel may have been a trial balloon toward a potential presidential run in 2024.
Before the governor gets to that point however, he’ll need to attend to the 2022 election, Jackson cautions.
“I think that’s a mistake, and probably it was fun to go to New Hampshire…but he’s got to get past this,” he said.