Governor’s Race Poses Tough Choices For Illinois VotersBy ERIK SIVERTSEN
Republicans have a tough choice in the June 28 primary election for governor. There is a large group of candidates and each of them has strengths that could make them the best choice as the next governor of Illinois.
The Response has over the last few months had the opportunity to meet and talk with all of the candidates except Richard Irvin. We even helped to write some of the questions for the June 4 McHenry Township GOP candidates forum. The experience hasn’t, necessarily, provided a clear frontrunner. However, we hope the following may help readers to draw conclusions that are helpful when they go to the polls.
Paul Schimpf: Schimpf is a natural Leader. You probably remember his name from when he ran for Illinois Attorney General a few years ago. He has a presence that people tend to want to follow. Many see him as someone who is ready to step in and lead. He has a record from his time in the general assembly that shows he is a Republican who will fight for Republican values. That is in addition to his impressive credentials from his time in the United States Marines. Unfortunately, he did not attend the candidates forum on June 4, sending his running mate Carolyn Schofield instead.
While her answer relating to ICE contracts in Illinois really hit it out of the park, most of the rest of her answers seemed to fall flat. She often answered that their campaign was not getting into divisive issues or that she did not know Paul’s stance.
Gary Rabine: Rabine is the local guy. He has so many connections here in McHenry County that will make him a strong candidate in the general election. In order to win statewide in November, the nominee is going to have to win big in McHenry County.
McHenry County is not the largest county in the state, but it has a large number of likely Republican voters who will be needed for any Republican to win statewide in November. He has surrounded himself with a great team, who will make him a strong candidate and set him up as a strong governor. His proposal to cap residential property taxes at 1% of home value and 2% for commercial properties, really resonates with voters.
His performances in the candidates forums, and especially at the McHenry Township GOP forum on June 4, were strong. Hearing him speak to crowds on several occasions, it’s clear his message can stand up against the Democrat agenda in November. He has a huge army of grassroots support from people who will work to get him elected, unlike the last time we nominated a rich businessman as our candidate for Illinois governor.
Max Solomon: In earlier candidates forums, Solomon didn’t have as strong of a showing as might have been expected. But many felt he had the best answers at the forum on June 4. He has an in-depth understanding of the issues and gave the impression that he can defend the Republican platform better than any of the other candidates.
In one-on-one conversations with The Response, as in group settings, he comes across as an extremely intelligent person with a great understanding of the issues and the requirements of the position he seeks. He is not just repeating slogans and campaign speeches written by others. His faith is front and center in his campaign and he is not hiding from it. The impression is that, in every interaction, he sincerely believes what he is saying and is not going to give in to the democrats on critical issues.
Jesse Sullivan: Sullivan was unable to attend the June 4 forum due to Covid. But The Response had the opportunity to meet him and his wife at other campaign events and spent some time asking him a litany of questions a couple of months ago. Those who don’t know much about him might be surprised by his grasp of the issues.
Rumors that he was a democrat plant, and that he was just running to clear the field for JB Pritzker appear unfounded. When discussing his history, platform and values, he comes across as a genuine Republican who escaped from the democrat party. He has a great story about how he realized that the democrat party is not really the party of compassion and is not really helping people in poverty. That was a major factor in his transition to the Republican party.
He is Pro-Life and has a personal history that shows his stance is not just philosophical, but that he has put his values into practice. He is also a man of faith and is not afraid of openly sharing his faith in his campaign. His transition from the democrat party to the Republican party might prove helpful in showing other Illinois democrats that, if they embrace a little bit of common sense, with a small dose of education, they are actually Republicans, too.
Darren Bailey: Bailey was in attendance on June 4. Recent polls have him as the solid front runner in this race. He has a history in the Illinois General Assembly, and it is easy to find his views on most of the hot button issues.
The Response spoke with him several times, and he has strong conservative answers founded on common sense. He has pushed back against JB’s executive orders and stood up for the rights of the citizens of Illinois. The Democratic Party of Illinois is even running an ad campaign against Bailey right now. It points out his support of Trump’s agenda, that he is 100% Pro-Life, and that he opposes ALL gun control.
Those are the hallmarks of a good Republican candidate. Bailey may be the best candidate to face JB in the fall. He is well known throughout the state and has a pretty good record, other than some votes in favor of tax increases back when he was on the school board. But those decisions don’t necessarily translate to a big spender in the governor’s mansion.
If there is a concern about Bailey, it’s that he may not be as well versed on the issues or, at least, that he cannot articulate them as well. He seems to stick to pre-planned campaign points. His very public lawsuits and pushback against Pritzker seem conveniently timed leading up to a run for Governor.
Bailey may be a good choice as the candidate with the best chance to beat JB. If elected, Republicans will need to hold his feet to the fire and make sure that he does not compromise too much with the Democrats in Springfield.
That is good advice for the party, regardless of who they select as their candidates. Republicans need to do a better job of supporting conservatives who they elect when those officials come up against the Democrats. Too often, lacking that support, they cede ground as the state moves further and further to the Left.
Efforts to compromise continue to move the state further Left while Illinoisians lose more and more of their rights and freedoms. The Democrats never compromise or give up ground.
Richard Irvin: Irvin is the last candidate that we have to look at here. He wasn’t at the candidates forum. He has also missed other Republican events The Response attended throughout the campaign season. We have had no opportunity to talk to him personally or to see him speak in person. We are left to look at his record as a public official and his campaign materials.
In terms of his campaign materials, it appears his staff developing the materials play fast and loose with the truth. His records as a public figure and as an elected official do not represent the values of the Republican party. It’s difficult to find anything that would convince us that he has changed his positions other than the millions of dollars in campaign donations.
The question we ask is, ‘Why has Ken Griffin chosen to financially back Irvin?’ Why are Shannon Teresi and Steve Kim and John Milhiser running on a slate with him? They are all good candidates who deserve our respect.
While many Democrats have to be thinking that this is the ideal time to come over to the party of logic with policies that actually work, the question is whether Irvin has truly made the leap? Is he really the strongest candidate to run against JB? Will he help the party draw in those Democrats who are ready to embrace reason?
As pointed out at the outset of this article, Republicans have a tough choice in this election for governor. With only a few days to go before the primary, we have to ask who will be the best choice to be the next governor, and who will have the best chance to beat JB and the rest of the Democrats in November? What we know for certain, is that Illinois can’t handle another 4 years of Pritzker.