Darren Bailey gets the golden ticket: Trump endorsement in GOP race for governor


Calling him “just the man to take on and defeat one of the worst governors in America,” former President Donald Trump on Saturday endorsed Darren Bailey in the GOP gubernatorial primary race — a huge boost in the waning days of what has become a heated and expensive contest.

“Darren is a fearless supporter of the Second Amendment and a tireless champion of religious liberty,” Trump said at a “Save America” rally in Mendon. “He will crack down on the violent crime that is devouring our Democrat-run cities and restore the state of Illinois to greatness. Darren has my complete and total endorsement.”

Taking the stage briefly — and nabbing the ultimate photo opp — Bailey voiced his support for a Trump 2024 presidential run.

“I’ve made a promise to President Trump that in 2024 Illinois will roll the red carpet out for him because Illinois will be ready for President Trump,” Bailey said to cheers.

Trump’s Illinois rally was intended to boost U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, a Trump loyalist and member of the House Freedom Caucus. Miller faces Rep. Rodney Davis in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, pitting two Republicans against each other after Democratic-led redistricting. Trump endorsed Miller in January.

But Bailey had been seeking Trump’s endorsement for months. The downstate farmer met with Trump last year and attended a fundraiser for Miller in April in which he snapped a photo with the former president. That photo was blasted on Bailey’s Facebook page — and later was used in ads paid for by the Democratic Governors’ Association.

The endorsement may not make a huge difference in Tuesday’s primary election for the grain farmer who for weeks has been leading his five other competitors by double digits in multiple polls.

It will make a difference in a general election, however, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker will use the endorsement against Bailey, should he win. Hours before Trump’s rally, and in anticipation of some roasting, Pritzker’s campaign blasted out a video of the governor calling Trump “a narcissist who values power over principle and seeks out darkness over light.”

The campaign said Trump’s visit was an attempt to prop up far-right extremists running for office — even though Pritzker himself paid for ads to help boost Bailey’s campaign with ads calling him “too conservative.”

“But here in the Land of Lincoln, we support those who are preserving the union, not destroying it. We stand with the people who barred the doors of the Capitol on Jan. 6th – not the ones who were trying to knock them down,” Pritzker said in the video. “And any candidate who refuses to speak out against Trump’s Big Lie has no business running for office. Not in Illinois.”

Trump took many jabs at Pritzker for his COVID-19 mandates, calling him a “disaster” and blaming him for everything from crime to people leaving the state. The two have endured a years long public feud, even before the pandemic.

And Pritzker has been positioning himself for a potential 2024 presidential bid, which is likely prompting further ire from Trump.

Trump has endorsed about 200 primary candidates this year, and candidates he’s endorsed in contested races have won more times than they’ve lost, according to a New York Times analysis.

The visit came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, aided by the three conservative justices Trump nominated. Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all sided with the majority opinion to bring an end to the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Rally-goers chanted “Thank you Trump” during the rally, with one person holding a sign that simply read, “Life won.”

Trump called the decision “a victory for the rule of law and above all, a victory for life.”

It also came as White House legal experts and Trump-era Justice Department officials continue to testify before the House Jan. 6 Committee about his efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 win.




Source : https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/2022/6/25/23183316/darren-bailey-trump-endorsement-igop-governor-primary-election

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