CHICAGO (SCS) — The race to determine which Republican will face Gov. JB Pritzker in the fall is entering its final hours, as voters in Illinois head to the polls to vote on Tuesday.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin had been considered the frontrunner in the GOP gubernatorial race for months, thanks to a $50 million injection of campaign cash from billionaire Ken Griffin , until recent weeks when polls showed Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia taking a double-digit lead in the race.
Irvin voted Tuesday morning at a Methodist church in Aurora. He said only a few words but stayed on message, casting himself as the only Republican in the race to be able to defeat Gov. JB Pritzker in the November general election.
“Get out and vote, and make sure you have a voice. Make sure you vote for the person who can actually beat JB Pritzker, and that’s me and the Irvin-Bourne team. One vote for Darren Bailey is a vote to re-elect JB Pritzker,” he said.
Irvin stayed on message for most of the campaign, dodging questions from reporters and turning down most interviews until recently after polls showed him trailing Bailey.
Bailey is hoping to deliver a victory speech on Tuesday night at Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham, about 30 miles from his family farm in Xenia, and he could be lucky, as recent polls have shown with a double-digit lead.
After the state senator cast his vote on Tuesday morning, he visited a steakhouse in Effingham and shook hands with customers, encouraging them to vote if they hadn’t already.
Bailey just got an endorsement from former President Donald Trump over the weekend. The question is whether voters in a state where Trump lost decisively in 2016 and 2020 will see a conservative like Bailey as a viable candidate.
“Things are not right. We need something different, and I look forward to earning the trust of everyone in Chicago, Cook County and beyond; to bring unity above all else to our party, which is going to start tonight, and then to bring unity to the whole state,” Bailey said.
Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, who edged Irvin to take second place in the GOP race in some recent polls, stopped by to chat with campaign workers in Arlington Heights on Tuesday, offering a few hugs and handshakes. .
Whoever wins Tuesday night will face Gov. JB Pritzker in November, who faces only a nominal challenge from Beverly Miles, whose campaign has been all but invisible, and has raised less than $20,000 for his campaign, compared to 90 millions of dollars. Pritzker gave to his own campaign earlier this year.
Pritzker spent Election Day making a number of campaign stops across Chicago, including a school in Kenwood, where he and Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton thanked poll workers and posed for photos with officials. voters.