By a wide margin, Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker defeated Republican downstate state senator Darren Bailey in Tuesday’s election, setting the stage for his continued political career. As exit polls closed at 7 p.m., the Associated Press declared the winner. After almost five hours, with about 80% of precincts reporting, Pritzker was ahead of Bailey by 55% to 42.1 %.
Pritzker made a victory speech at 8:13 p.m., saying that the networks were calling the race. To loud applause, Pritzker declared, “I am so thrilled to spend four more years as your governor.” Pritzker said he would defend Illinois’s abortion rights at any cost, directly addressing MAGA Republicans in a furious speech reminiscent of his campaign rallies that have generated presidential rumors.
Although Trump had backed Bailey in the primary, the former president was not mentioned by Bailey during the general election. Nobody will gain an inch of Illinois if they try to bring their right-wing, MAGA war to the state, Pritzker stated. Pritzker intended to imply that Bailey’s concession proved that democracy is functioning, as stated in prepared remarks distributed to reporters.
That seemed like a relatively optimistic prospect. After waiting over 90 minutes, Bailey finally conceded during Pritzker’s address. After initial denials, Pritzker’s campaign revealed that Bailey conceded defeat at 9:38 p.m., just before the Republican addressed his own supporters in Springfield.
Until the Republican Party is ready to dismiss the extremists in its midst, J.B.Pritzker told his supporters in Chicago, “there’s no polite or simple way to say this.” The fight for democracy, freedom, liberty, and dignity ought to be peaceful but fearless. The issue must be voiced out.
No politician should be able to use it as an easy rhetorical evasion. More than 250 people attended Pritzker’s election night celebration, which was held in the Marriott Marquis’ Great Lakes Ballroom. AP’s announcement of Pritzker’s victory was met with raucous celebrations by his supporters, who waved flags and chanted, “J.B.! J.B.!”
The Associated Press called the race for Bailey in Springfield while his fans were still trickling in for the celebration. This event occurred so quickly that backers hardly had time to register it, let alone react. At about 9:44 p.m., after “Sweet Home Chicago” blared over the Crowne Plaza Springfield’s public address system, Bailey took the stage.
This isn’t in the speech, but there’s still time for a miracle, Darren Bailey informed the crowd. Until the ballots are counted, a miracle is still possible. The Republican southern Illinois farmer quickly conceded the evening had not gone as planned. He claimed he spoke with Pritzker after his victory and offered his congratulations, but he also vowed to continue his role in the “resistance.”
“J.B. Pritzker, you need to be better,” Bailey admonished. Pritzker spent millions of dollars on commercials and negative campaign rhetoric to portray Bailey as a dangerous radical unfit to serve as governor of the state. The Democrat focused his criticisms on Bailey’s pro-life stance and his endorsement of Trump.
However, Bailey hoped to win support from voters who were frustrated with the status quo and especially with Vice President Joe Biden and the economy. Pritzker defeated then-Republican Governor Bruce Rauner by a margin of nearly 16 points four years ago. Pritzker earned more votes in 2018 for governor of Illinois than any other contender had in the state since 1976.
Bailey made a last-ditch effort to win over voters in Chicago and the collar counties as Republicans swept the nation in the closing weeks before the election. Bailey has compared the Windy City to a “hellhole,” “unruly child,” and “OK Corral.”
Following the Republican playbook of blaming Democratic leaders for crime, he frequently claimed that Pritzker’s policies were to blame for the city’s decline and the increase in violent crime. At his election night gathering in Springfield on Tuesday, Republican candidate Darren Bailey gave a speech.
Republican establishment figures in the state are still seething over the fact that Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association poured millions of dollars into advertising supporting Bailey during the Republican primary, narrowing the field from which Pritzker could choose his opponent.
Pritzker, like many other governors around the country, had to pivot after a successful first year in office and lead the state’s pandemic response, during which he made enemies by issuing regulations and telling people to stay home from work in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
The pandemic served as a catalyst for a movement backed by Bailey and his followers. A conservative former state lawmaker, Jeanne Ives, came close to defeating Rauner in the Republican primary in 2018, so the groundwork was already there.
There has been talking that Pritzker is considering a run for president, despite the fact that he and his team have been deliberately vague about his plans. The governor is testing the waters as a possible presidential candidate by lobbying for Chicago to host the Democratic National Convention.