Darren Bailey Embraces ‘America First’ Mentality After Steaming GOP Field – NBC Chicago

State Sen. Darren Bailey overpowered his five opponents in the Republican primary for Illinois governor on Tuesday, winning the GOP nomination by a staggering 42%.

But above his candidacy looms the new endorsement of former President Donald Trump in a state Trump clearly lost two years ago.

When asked in a one-on-one interview on Wednesday about the possibility that the election could be a statewide referendum on Trump, Bailey said, “Well, I love reminding people of his America First- agenda, because that’s definitely what I stand for. And I think that can start here in Illinois.”

That’s a message well-suited to the Republican grassroots — as evidenced by his landslide victory. But Trump’s message has previously fallen flat in Illinois north of I-80.

In 2020, President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Chicago by nearly 67 points.

In out-of-town Cook County, Biden won 66.39% of the vote, compared to Trump’s 32.04%, a 34-point margin of victory

In the suburbs of DuPage County, Biden defeated Trump by 18% in 2020. Compare that to the incumbent Democratic administration JB Pritzker’s two points lead over the then administration. Bruce Rauner in DuPage in 2018, which in itself was a long way from Rauner’s 2014 win in the county, beating Democratic Governor Pat Quinn by 24 points.

In 2020, Trump lost Illinois statewide by a margin of 17 points — more than 1 million votes.

After months of seeking Trump’s approval, Bailey tried to draw a contrast on Wednesday.

“Eventually people will realize I’m not Donald Trump. I’m Darren Bailey,” he said. “I am someone who stands up for businesses, stands up for schools, our school boards, our parents, stands up to a tyrannical government that I believe has tried to take their freedoms and put a heavy tax burden on them.”

Bailey’s primary victory took place against the backdrop of his inflammatory comments about Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wasted no time warning voters against Bailey, tweeting, “Illinois, under no circumstances can we allow Darren Bailey near the executive office.”

But Bailey doesn’t back down.

“I just pronounce it. Chicago is hell. I speak the truth, and then we come together and work on solutions and eventually I think people respect that,” he said.

“Every other city in the nation, you say corrupt government, people say Chicago, Illinois,” he added. ‘Something’s wrong. Let’s raise the issue and then get our hands dirty and fix it. That’s the governor I want to be.”

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