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GOP nominee Bailey discusses crime, taxes, election integrity during Peoria campaign stop

State Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for Illinois governor, speaks to a group of supporters Thursday morning in Peoria.
Joe Deacon
State Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for Illinois governor, speaks to a group of supporters Tuesday morning in Peoria.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey vowed Tuesday to stand by the outcome of the upcoming general election, after telling a group of supporters in Peoria he wants to lower taxes, improve public education, and take a tough stance against crime.

“Now is the time for regular working people like us to have our voices heard,” the challenger to Gov. JB Pritzker told the crowd. “This race is about jobs. This race is about crime. This race is about you and your family, and on those issues every one of us and every voter in this state know that JB Pritzker has failed us.”

Bailey, a state senator from downstate Xenia who has said previously he’s not sure the 2020 presidential election was decided fairly, had this response when asked if he is committed to accepting the Election Day results.

“Yes, because we're empowering the people,” he responded. “We're empowering the people to be poll watchers. I'm encouraging everyone, if you're, if anyone's frustrated — we've got to restore confidence in our elections, and that confidence doesn't exist right now.

“So, if people show up at the end of the day and show up as poll watchers, monitor the election process (and) we get elected, then we will create a voter reform and we will restore a confidence in our elections.”

During his speech, Bailey reiterated his claim from last week that “Chicago is living ‘The Purge,’” referencing a 2013 horror film in an analogy to the city’s crime rate. He said Democratic leaders have turned “the West Loop into the Wild West” and “Chicago into the OK Corral.”

Bailey said his first priorities if elected governor would be to repeal the criminal justice reform legislation known as the SAFE-T Act and to ease the tax burdens on families and small businesses.

“People are struggling due to the rising cost of living and the crime on our streets. That's why we must reform Springfield and make Illinois an affordable place to live and thrive again,” said Bailey.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Roe v. Wade precedent has made reproductive rights a prominent issue for this election cycle. Last December, Pritzker signed a law that ended a requirement that doctors inform the parents when a minor seeks an abortion, and he has said he wants Illinois to remain a safe haven for women seeking an abortion.

Although he’s previously said he would support a total ban on abortion, Bailey pivoted from the topic when asked if he supports a federal ban proposed by Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., that would supersede state laws.

“I think here in Illinois, people need to realize that women's rights are well protected. Nothing is going to change anytime soon here in Illinois, and that's exactly because of the legislative makeup; it's the legislatures that make those decisions,” he said.

“I look forward to working with people and talking and listening and learning from people all over the state. Right now, what I want to see the Illinois legislature do is get crime under control, repeal the SAFE-T Act (and) stop this no-cash bail. I want to see them repeal the parental notification. I think if we do that and begin to work on taxes (and) making Illinois livable and affordable, I think then change Illinois.”

The Peoria stop was the first of the day for Bailey and his Lt. Gov. running mate Stephanie Trussell on a four-day bus tour across the state. They were joined at the event by fellow GOP nominees Kathy Salvi for U.S. Senate (challenging incumbent Tammy Duckworth) and Travis Weaver, who is unopposed for the 93rd District State House seat.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.