JB Pritzker

Who is Darren Bailey? Get to Know the Presumptive Republican Nominee for Illinois Governor

After a heated six-way race for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor, State Sen. Darren Bailey has emerged victorious, according to projections from NBC News.

Bailey, one of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s fiercest critics, will now face off against the incumbent governor in November’s general election, hoping to give Illinois its third Republican governor in the last 24 years.

Here is a brief summary of Bailey’s life and career, and what his platform looks like in this year’s election.

Brief Biography

Bailey, 56, was born in Louisville, Illinois. He graduated with an associate degree from Lake Land College, and operates a farm in downstate Illinois.

He and his wife Cindy have four children, according to his campaign biography.

Bailey served in the Illinois House for one term before running for state senate in the 55th district, defeating Democrat Cynthia Given in 2020.

It was during that election cycle that Bailey put himself on the state political radar, suing Pritzker’s administration over its stay-at-home order during the COVID pandemic. He ultimately won a temporary restraining order from a judge in Clay County, but later had the TRO overturned on appeal.

Bailey also found himself in hot water after refusing to wear a mask on the floor of the Illinois House, with lawmakers voting to remove him from the chamber.

In Feb. 2021 he announced that he would run for governor, ultimately choosing Stephanie Trussell as his running mate.

Key Endorsements

Bailey didn’t have the endorsements of many establishment Republicans, with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin collecting a lot of that backing, but he did get endorsements from Illinois Federation for Right to Life and A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) of Illinois.

The big endorsement for Bailey came late in the election cycle, as former President Donald Trump endorsed him during a rally for Rep. Mary Miller in late June.

“Darren is just the man to take on and defeat one of the worst governors in America,” Trump said during the rally, where he offered Bailey his “complete and total” endorsement.

Select Policy Stances


Bailey called the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade “historic and welcomed,” and says that he would “vote against the extreme overhaul and expansion of abortion access in Illinois.”

Gun Rights

Bailey says that he is opposed to most gun control legislation, and “believes that education is crucial” for those opposed to gun rights.


Bailey says he will seek to reduce spending and to cut property and income taxes in Illinois.

For more policy stances, visit Bailey's campaign website.

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