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Irvin’s campaign is ‘reassessing’ messaging as new poll puts him behind Bailey in the governor’s race

Richard Irvin speaking at podium
Eric Stock
/
WGLT
Richard Irvin speaks at Friday news conference in Bloomington.

Republican candidate for governor Richard Irvin said he's reassessing his campaign messaging less than three weeks before the primary election. That’s because a new Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll shows the Aurora mayor trailing GOP frontrunner state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, by double digits.

“We’ve changed our plan of how we are going to get our message across over the next couple of weeks as we look to cross that finish line first on June 28. It’s necessary for us to reassess,” Irvin said at a Friday afternoon news conference in Bloomington, though he did not elaborate on what a new strategy would entail.

Early voting is underway for the June 28 primary election.

Irvin slammed the Democratic Governors Association and Gov. JB Pritzker for, in his view, trying to boost Bailey’s chances of winning the primary. “This is JB Pritzker spending tens of millions of dollars meddling in the Republican primary to prop up a Republican that he knows he can beat,” Irvin said.

Irvin's campaign has been backed by GOP megadonor Ken Griffin.

Irvin repeatedly said “A vote for Darren Bailey is a vote for JB Pritzker,” adding that Pritzker is “scared” to run against he and his running mate, State Rep. Avery Boure (R-Morrisonville).

Law enforcement

Irvin held the news conference following a private meeting with law enforcement at a Bloomington insurance agency. The gathering included sheriffs from Christian, Kendall and Sangamon counties as well as Illinois FOP Labor Council President Shawn Roselieb and Monticello's police chief.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage did not attend. He has endorsed Republican Jesse Sullivan for governor.

Irvin tried to present himself as a law and order governor and said he’s “disgusted” by what he calls the “disdain” the Pritzker administration is showing law enforcement.

“It’s time to take the handcuffs off of our police officers and put them on our violent criminals,” Irvin said.

Darren Bailey signs
Eric Stock
/
WGLT
Supporters of Darren Bailey's campaign for Illinois governor gathered outside during a news conference held by GOP opponent Richard Irvin.

Irvin did not discuss specifics ways he plans to address what his campaign called “Illinois’ ongoing public safety crisis,” but Bourne referenced a new police reform law that eliminates cash bail starting next year. Republican leaders have said they want to repeal the law.

"Criminals have been emboldened under JB Pritzker’s leadership and Illinois deserves so much better,” Bourne said.

During the news conference, several dozen Bailey supporters gathered outside and added Bailey campaign signs to the mix of other Republican candidates that had been set up on the lawn along the highway.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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