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Pritzker throws shade at GOP gubernatorial rival Irvin's press conference contortions

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a press conference in Peoria on May 10, 2022.
Tim Shelley
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a press conference in Peoria on May 10, 2022.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is throwing shade at Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin after the Aurora mayor ducked and dodged reporter questions on Monday.

During an unrelated bill signing event at the Peoria Civic Center on Tuesday, the governor said Irvin should be able to answer questions directly.

"It's very important to answer questions, especially if you're going to put yourself forward to the public and ask them to trust you and believe in you," he said. "They've gotta know where you stand on the issues."

Irvin evaded questions about his support of former President Donald Trump and his stances on abortion during a rare press conference he convened on Monday,following the release of an auditor general's report scrutinizing the Pritzker administration's handling of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home.

Pritzker didn't directly answer Irvin's allegations about his management of the veterans home crisis, but the governor claimed it's hypocritical for Republicans to criticize him for his handling of the crisis, even as they pushed back against the COVID mitigations his administration imposed.

"We were trying to keep people healthy and safe in the worst moments of this worldwide pandemic, deadly pandemic. And it was necessary for us to ask people to do the right thing. The people at that press conference, all of the people fought the mitigations, including the gentleman you're talking about," he said, referring to the Aurora mayor.

The Illinois gubernatorial primary is June 28. GOP megadonor Ken Griffin recently poured another $25 million into Irvin's campaign account. The Aurora mayor far outpaces his Republican primary rivals in what's sure to be an expensive general election contest against billionaire Pritzker.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.