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Conservative Sen. Darren Bailey’s convincing victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Illinois is a big win for former President Donald Trump — and for Democrats.
The former president, who was sidelined nearly a year and a half from the White House remains the GOP’s most popular and influential politician, endorsed Bailey on Saturday as he headlined a large rally in Illinois.
Bailey’s victory gives Trump bragging rights, after the former president suffered setbacks in other high-profile Republican gubernatorial matchups so far this primary season.
But Bailey’s nomination is also a victory for Democratic Governor JB Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association, which have spent tens of millions of dollars to boost Bailey over moderate Republican Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, a city in the metropolis. from Chicago.
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Democrats saw Bailey as the weakest candidate in November’s general election compared to Irvin, who was aided by tens of millions of backing from conservative billionaire Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel, the multinational hedge fund and services giant financial.
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Bailey easily passed Irvin and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Jesse Sullivan, who were his two main rivals in a field of six GOP candidates.
Following Friday’s blockbuster opinion of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturning the landmark half-century Roe v. Wade, abortion should be a major issue in the Illinois gubernatorial election. Bailey opposes abortion in almost all cases, while Pritzker wants to make Illinois a safe haven for women from other states where abortion is now illegal.
“Darren Bailey is a MAGA extremist who threatens to roll back Illinois. With his far-right, out-of-touch stances on critical issues ranging from abortion to guns to COVID, a future Governor Darren Bailey is a danger to all Illinoisans,” charged DGA Executive Director Noam Lee.
Trump’s last-minute endorsement for Bailey — which helped Democrats’ mission to bolster the state senator at Irvin’s expense — was quietly celebrated by Democrats.
But Trump’s world disagrees with any talk that he’s taking the bait of the Democrats by backing Bailey.
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Pointing to far-right state legislator Ron Hanks of Colorado — whom Democrats unsuccessfully tried to bolster in Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary — a Republican strategist in Trump’s political orbit told Fox News, “Ron Hanks was really ineligible. I don’t think anyone sees Darren Bailey the way they saw Ron Hanks.”
“I think in the right atmosphere, Illinois will be competitive,” added the strategist, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.
Trump scored another victory in Illinois, as first-term Rep. Mary Miller, a Trump supporter, defeated fellow Republican Rodney Davis in the GOP primary in the newly drawn 15th congressional district.
Davis, who for a decade represented the neighboring 13th District, ran against Miller for the heavily red new seat in the central part of the state, which contains large swaths of his current district.
Davis was one of 35 House Republicans who voted last year for a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by right-wing extremists and others. Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt Congressional certification of President Joe Biden as a 2020 election victory. The bill to create the commission was defeated in the Senate, and House Democrats eventually set up a select committee of mostly Democrats to investigate the Capitol takeover.
TRUMP ADDRESSED MORE RECOGNITIONS IN GEORGIA AS CANDIDATES HE BACKS TRUNCATED IN GOP PRIMARY RUNS
Trump took aim at Davis and praised Miller at Saturday’s rally in the district. On the eve of the rally, Miller charged in an interview with Fox News that Davis “stabbed President Trump in the back multiple times and the people of the 15th Precinct don’t like him. Voting for the Jan. 6 Commission has outraged people.”
Miller’s win is the second victory for a Trump-endorsed candidate in a House clash. In May, Republican Representative Alex Mooney, who was backed by the former president, defeated his GOP colleague, David McKinley, in their party’s primary for West Virginia’s 2nd congressional district.
The former president’s political victories on Tuesday follow the defeat of a handful of Trump-backed candidates in recent primaries that drew media attention.
“It’s definitely a good night for him,” noted the Trump world strategist. “The Mary Miller race was very important.”
But the agent added that “I don’t think anyone sees the races he lost as a sign of declining power. It was just bad mentions.”
While Davis was defeated, another House Republican who voted for the Jan. 6 bipartisan commission easily defeated a primary challenger.
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In Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district, two-term GOP representative Michael Guest edged challenger Michael Cassidy by a more than two-to-one margin in a primary runoff.
Cassidy had repeatedly attacked Guest for voting for the commission, but Trump refused to take sides in the race.