In Illinois, Republican State Senator Darren Bailey is fighting an uphill battle in his bid to unseat Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker in November. Pritzker is the incumbent and, of course, has a well-financed campaign.
Still, Bailey brings a solid conservative message that undoubtedly appeals to many Illinois voters — those outside of Chicagoland anyway.
It isn’t just out-state Illinoisans that Bailey hopes to appeal to, though. In his July interview with RedState’s Cameron Arcand, Bailey laid out how his message is a winning one even for Chicagoans:
I think that’s the reason I faced so much opposition in the primary because I’ve been very vocal about the fact that Illinois would be better served you know emulating a model much like Indiana does where we spread opportunity across the state and we grow the entire state instead of the Northern part. The reality is that for years, Southern Illinois was served mainly by farming, coal, and oil. And interestingly enough, the Democrats are taxing it out of existence. They’re regulating oil out of existence. And then they turn around and wonder why our energy bills have doubled and why we’re going to experience rolling blackouts and brownouts this summer.
They wondered why gas and diesel now are over $6. It’s because we’re not producing them. We have these natural resources here, and when you make bad decisions, there are consequences. But just as important is the fact that the people in Chicago are frustrated too. They’re not being well represented.
Life for the typical resident in Chicago is much more constricted than it is for people throughout the rest of the state. Their rent, their taxes, their food, and even their gas are a lot more expensive than it is throughout the state because of the needless taxes and regulations that they have. So I think that my model of governing is the exact model that got me here to this place. It’s communicating hope and ideas and a better future to the people… So when they have this guy show up, who’s got this Southern accent, who’s a farmer, who’s four hours south, they seem to be intrigued and they listen.
And it isn’t as if Illinois won’t elect Republican governors — Pritzker’s predecessor, of course, was Republican Bruce Rauner.
While the current RCP average shows Pritzker with a 15-point lead, Bailey’s not giving up without a fight — and the latest internal polling indicates he may well be closing the gap.
In a poll of 600 Likely Voters conducted by Osage Research between October 13th and 15th, 42 percent of the respondents indicated they would vote for Bailey if the election were held today, versus 44 percent for Pritzker. That puts the candidates within the four-point margin of error — and that’s with a party breakdown of 39 percent Democrat, 28 percent Independent, and 25 percent Republican.
Also of note in that poll, 56 percent of respondents felt Illinois was on the wrong track, while only 35 percent felt the state was headed in the right direction. When asked if they were personally better off after four years of Pritzker as governor, 48 percent responded that they were not versus 45 percent who responded they were. Further, 45 percent indicated they felt Bailey would keep them safer than Pritzker, while 44 percent disagreed. When asked their opinion of Pritzker, only 30 percent indicated they would vote to re-elect him, regardless of his opponent, while 35 percent said they would vote to replace him and 27 percent said they would consider another candidate.
While there is ample speculation that Pritzker may be eyeing a 2024 presidential bid, it doesn’t sound as though Illinoisans are particularly keen on that idea and, given the polling data revealed above, he’d do well not to look past this November just yet.