Multiple controversies have erupted in the contentious Republican primary to become governor of Illinois, including one focused on a candidate's text messages that described his views on former President Donald Trump.
With early voting set to begin next week, the focus is on two candidates leading in the polls as of Friday, Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey and Richard Irvin, the mayor of Aurora.
Bailey, from downstate Xenia, reacted to a new WTTW report about text messages in which Irvin apparently called former President Donald Trump an "idiot" and a "bigoted racist" before he was a candidate for governor.
One text read: "...And I hate Trump too. I think he's an idiot!!!" followed by another that said, "And a bigoted racist."
Irvin said in a statement he doesn't recall sending the texts and added "the Trump Administration delivered positive results for Americans like tax cuts."
"...Can't stand Trump, so I'm curious what party can't stand the most. Can he not stand the fact that President Trump stood up for working taxpayers and families?" Bailey questioned after learning of the messages.
In another race development, the Democratic Governor's Association released a nearly $2 million ad buy focused on Bailey.
"I see desperation and confusion, I want to make sure everyone understands that we certainly don't need the democrats help to defeat J.B. Pritzker," he said.
The spots could actually benefit Bailey, which was the case with a different candidate in the 2018 Republican primary. When ads ran for Jeanne Ives, who was up against former Gov. Bruce Rauner, the spots helped Ives by sparking more primary voters to get to the polls.