On Tuesday, Darren Bailey was named the Republican nominee in a race against liberal-progressive incumbent Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker. However, Pritzker used his resources in this race to help Bailey secure the GOP nomination.
Who is Darren Bailey? Bailey– a devout Christian, owner of the Bailey Family Farm, state senator, and a former trucker– won the nomination with 57.2% of the vote. Coming to prominence with his introduction of a bill to kick Chicago out of Illinois, Bailey gained backing from former-President Donald Trump, campaigning as a bombastic and unapologetic conservative populist.
What did the Democrats do to help Bailey? The Democratic Governors Association allegedly spent $9.8 million on ads calling Bailey “pro-gun, pro-life,” a Trump-like conservative, and other labels used for right-wing candidates. However, these labels are popular among the conservative electorate and only improve Bailey’s appeal to Republican voters. This advertising for Bailey by Democrats was intentional.
Why would Democrats help Bailey Win? The Democrats’ “smear campaign” could have been advertising in favor of Bailey because the Democrats view Bailey as “too radical” to beat Pritzker. Richard Irwin, the former candidate for Governor and opposition to Bailey, confirmed these suspicions, stating that Pritzker “spent a historic amount of money to choose his Republican opponent.” Various publications have named Bailey an “extremist,” hurting his chances of winning a liberal-leaning state like Illinois.