Incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker was projected to quickly and handily win a second term in the governor's mansion the evening of Nov. 8, defeating state Sen. Darren Bailey in a contentious race that had seemed to have narrowed in recent weeks.
But Bailey's defeat, it seemed, was anything but narrow.
The Associated Press called Pritzker's victory over Bailey, a millionaire who besides his state Senate post is also a farmer downstate, within minutes of the Illinois polls closing. CBS 2 reported that the victory was called with just 2% of the electorate counted. By that point, at about 7:15 p.m., Pritzker already had 62.5% of the vote, while Bailey had 35.2%; AP reportedly considered their own polling as well in their decision to call the contest.
It was the end of an acrimonious contest between the two men (though Bailey had not conceded as of publication). Pritzker, the richest elected official in the country, largely self-financed his campaign, while Bailey received funding from various right-wing sources, among them Republican operative Dan Proft's People Who Play By the Rules PAC and GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein.
It was a fight that Pritzker welcomedhis operation hyped Bailey in the primary, gambling that Bailey's perceived extremism would essentially be a poison pill for many voters.
The far-right Bailey, who was an extremely vocal critic of various statewide health initiatives during the height of the pandemic, is also a vocal opponent of reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights. In 2019, he loudly opposed the legislation mandating school instruction in LGBTQ+ history.
Bailey also co-sponsored legislation that would separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois. He and his colleagues later said their resolution was intended as a symbolic gesture.
Pritzker has a long history of pro-LGBTQ+ activism and signed legislation affirming their rights during his administration. In June 2022, he told WCT, "I have been very proud to be an ally of the LGBTQ community since I was a young person and have carried on that commitment as governor. I have signed several pieces of legislation that are making measurable improvements for LGBTQ Illinoisans. Some examples include financial aid to transgender students who would otherwise be denied, requiring public schools to teach LGBTQ history, expanding infertility insurance coverage to include LGBTQ families, expanding Medicaid to cover gender affirming surgeries and so on. …I have always stood up for LGBTQ community members and I will continue to do so."
CBS 2's story is at www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/illinois-election-governor-jb-pritzker-wins-darren-bailey/ .
Windy City Times will update this story as more information becomes available.