SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Republican candidate for governor and state Sen. Darren Bailey continued his trend of not taking questions from the news media Tuesday after speaking at a small rally outside of the Illinois State Capitol.
The rally was organized by Awake Illinois, an organization focused on parental rights that has also engaged in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and once called Gov. JB Pritzker a “groomer” in a social media post.
Bailey stuck to his normal talking points – that he would fire Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala on day one, would seek to reinstate parental notice of abortion and would also look to overturn a bill that overhauled sex education curriculum requirements last year – then quickly headed out behind a row of bushes to his awaiting SUV.
His campaign team told the assembled media to come to Republican Day at the State Fair Thursday in order to ask questions of the candidate running for the state’s top office.
About 40 people attended the speaking engagement, including Bailey’s primary rival Jesse Sullivan and his family.
Bailey contended that the crowd might be larger if not for gas prices.
“You know that some of you had to make the decisions today and some of you had to sacrifice whether or not you even come here,” he said. “And I’m going to contend that maybe one of the very reasons why this crowd size is smaller than we know it ought to be is because people in this state are now making decisions whether we put food on our table, or whether we fill our gas tanks up.”
Other lawmakers who attended include members of the so called “Eastern Bloc” of conservative Republicans – Rep. Chris Miller, of Oakland, Rep. Adam Niemerg, of Dieterich, and Rep. Blaine Wilhour, of Beecher City. Republican attorney general candidate Thomas DeVore also spoke at the rally.
At an event earlier in the day at an animal welfare facility in Springfield, meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker fielded media questions for the fourth time this week and criticized Bailey for not doing so more frequently.
“I will point out, I stand up in front of the press virtually every day, certainly on average once a day, answer any questions that come. I don’t tell you I’m not going to answer questions,” Pritzker said. “And the fact is that Darren Bailey doesn’t want to answer questions from members of the media.”
“If you’re out there, and you’re open to having people attend your events, you ought to be open to having the press ask you questions,” he added.
Pritzker said he looks forward to debating Bailey, he said, without stating how many times they would debate.
Bailey, in a recent news release, said he would debate Pritzker “anytime, anywhere.”
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