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Sen. Barickman contests Chris Christie's verdict on Illinois

Jason Barickman
Seth Perlman
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is premature in writing off Illinois statewide races for national funding support in 2022.

A Bloomington state senator is pushing back against former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's view that Illinois will not be a top-tier state next year for funding in Republican races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Christie made the remark in Chicago, during a speech at the Chicago Union Club. Christie was promoting his new book about how to get the Republican Party past former President Donald Trump.

State Sen. Barickman, R-Bloomington, said Christie should wait a bit on his conclusion that Illinois is not competitive in those statewide races.

"I don't think the answer on that issue is fully yet known. Whether we are a top-tier state for funding largely depends on who the candidates are," said Barickman.

Illinois has long been considered a blue state because of the Chicago vote, and a more recent trend by Chicago suburban voters toward Democratic candidates has reinforced that.

But Barickman thinks 2022 will be a great year for Republicans nationwide and that Illinois is a potential opportunity for the GOP, adding the nominees must not be people who turn off suburban voters.

"Suburban voters I think are not going to be overly motivated by social issues per se. I think they're going to be driven by property taxes, crime, high quality schools. We can't do it if our candidate is a non-starter with the suburban households where there are so many votes," said Barickman.

Barickman said Republican views on free markets and economics can win in the suburbs while social stances might not. He said the GOP has to find someone who generates enthusiasm downstate, but also be able to grow the party beyond the base.

The party that does not hold the presidency generally does well in off-year elections.

Christie said Trump's persona would alienate those suburban voters nationwide in 2024. Christie is considering a presidential run. His book is titled “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.