With the Democratic nomination secure, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker took aim at State Sen. Darren Bailey and the Republican party on Tuesday night, blasting what he called “the radical right wing’s” extremism as he kicked off his general election campaign in earnest.
Pritzker, who will face Bailey in the November election after defeating Beverly Miles in the Democratic primary, compared efforts to reach out to Republicans to Charlie Brown attempting to kick a football during a fiery speech, saying that his administration will work to continue to protect all Illinois residents.
“We Democrats play by the rules. We respect our democracy. We honor the results of our elections,” he said. “We want to believe that surely the GOP can come together with us and agree on common sense things that will make life easier and better for most Americans. But it seems like lately, every time we extend a hand to the other side, it’s met with scorn, and we feel like Charlie Brown looking back at Lucy holding the football.”
Pritzker also took time to blast the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a woman’s right to an abortion, and emphasized his fight for abortion rights as part of his platform.
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“In the face of what’s happening in this country today, in the face of what the Supreme Court and the radical right wing are trying to do to the fundamental rights of every American, we owe something to our children and grandchildren. We owe it to them to win,” he said.
Pritzker’s campaign echoed those sentiments in the aftermath of his victory.
“Governor Pritzker and Lt. Governor Stratton are the only candidates ready to fight back to protect the rights of women, Black and Brown Americans, our LGBTQ+ neighbors, union workers, and every Illinoisan who wishes to live a life of their own design,” the campaign said.
In his acceptance speech, Bailey took aim at Pritzker on numerous fronts, saying that he doesn’t understand the plight of regular Illinoisans and that the Republican’s campaign will focus on making life easier for the state’s residents.
“Illinois is in trouble. Decade after decade of mismanagement, and back-to-back billionaire governors who don’t understand the struggles of working people,” he said. “And where has that gotten us? People and businesses leaving Illinois in droves, looking for work, affordable housing, lower taxes and better opportunities. They are leaving because Springfield and the political elites have failed every one of us.”
While Pritzker criticized Bailey for receiving former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, Bailey returned the favor and linked the governor to President Joe Biden and what he called the president’s “extreme national agenda.”
“He doesn’t understand how his and Joe Biden’s extreme national agenda helps fuel inflation and increases utility bills for families,” he said. “He doesn’t understand the damage that his lockdowns did to small businesses, schools, and the mental health of working families all across this state.”
Pritzker and Bailey will face off in the general election on Nov. 8.