Pritzker vs. Bailey Round 2: Battle Royale in “Pritzkerville”

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 11:27 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Gov. JB Pritzker and Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) battled in their second and final televised gubernatorial debate Tuesday night. Bailey called the governor incompetent and Pritzker continued to stress that the downstate senator is too extreme for Illinois.

Pritzker and Bailey didn’t hold back any punches in their debate at the WGN studios on the north side of Chicago. The Republican farmer was quickly asked about his descriptions of Chicago as a “hellhole” and “O-K Corral.” Bailey told debate moderators that he is now calling the city “Pritzkerville.”

“Every one of Pritzker’s extreme policies are destroying the city,” Bailey said.

Both candidates would later run through their greatest campaign talking points with less than three weeks before the General Election.

Once again, criminal justice and the SAFE-T Act took center stage. While Sen. Bailey would like to repeal the entire law championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Pritzker said it must be amended before the end of the year.

“Let’s amend it, but not end it,” Pritzker said. “Darren Bailey is defending a system currently that allows people to buy their way out of prison.”

Although, Pritzker did not provide specific examples of what he would like to see changed or clarified in the Pretrial Fairness Act language. Bailey said the SAFE-T Act is more than 700 pages of “confusion of bureaucracy.” The senator said he supports the “100 of 102″ state attorneys in Illinois who oppose the current bill language. He noted that many county leaders have sued the governor and legislative leaders who helped pass the criminal justice reform law.

“Gov. Pritzker’s SAFE-T Act put a revolving door on our jail cells,” Bailey said.

Meanwhile, the senator was asked several times about his stance on abortion protections in Illinois. During a debate on Oct. 6, Bailey said he couldn’t change the state’s abortion laws if he wanted to. Bailey was endorsed by all of the state’s anti-abortion groups earlier this year. The Illinois Federation for Right to Life, Illinois Citizens For Life, and Illinois Family Action said Bailey has shown a strong commitment to life and is unafraid to speak about his opinions on abortion.

Bailey has recently pulled back on his strong stance against abortion. Political insiders feel that he may be trying to gain support from moderate Republicans in the Chicago suburbs, although it may distance him from public opinion downstate. Bailey deflected Tuesday night and critiqued Pritzker for repealing the state’s parental notification of abortion law.

“Let’s talk about extremism,” Bailey said. “Gov. Pritzker is perfectly fine with our children getting abortions without their parents knowing anything about it. I think that’s extreme.”

Yet, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action said decades of research and experience showed that forced parental involvement laws hurt young people and served no valid purpose. PPIA Vice President of Public Policy Brigid Leahy said PNA was antiquated, harmful, and did not help young people in dangerous situations.

Pritzker noted that Bailey opposes abortion in all cases except saving the life of a mother. The Democrat said Illinois must continue to be a safe haven for women and others who can become pregnant.

The governor later said that Bailey has surrounded himself with racist, homophobic, and xenophobic organizations and people while securing an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

“Who do you trust to stand up for you? He’s going to stand up for them, not for the working families and, in particular, black and brown people across the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said.

Bailey later interrupted Pritzker and said the governor should stop tossing money at the state’s problems and find real solutions.

“I can’t stand it when you sit here and lie like that,” Bailey said. “People have to know that you are lying to them.”

Now, the final countdown is on as both men will travel across the state to gain more support before Nov. 8.

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