'Corrupt hellhole': Republican candidates for Illinois governor debate Chicago crime

Chicago's street violence was at the center of two broadcast forums featuring the six Republican candidates for Illinois governor Tuesday night.

"Let's think about Chicago: a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole," said State Senator Darren Bailey.

In a strange twist, though, three participated in one forum while three others were at another TV station.

They all blamed Chicago’s bloody violence on Gov. JB Pritzker and other Democratic officials, one mocking Mayor Lori Lightfoot's proposal to reduce it by making curfew an hour earlier.

"You don't simply address it by coming up with kneejerk rules – 'let's have a curfew' – that's not gonna stop crime. You gotta stop it by addressing it head on by what I call the three C’s: Children, Cops, Community," Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said.


"I will lead the recall efforts for Kim Foxx and any other state's attorney who fails to prosecute criminals in the state of Illinois," said Jesse Sullivan.

"Four times more murders in Chicago, Illinois, last year than New York City," Gary Rabine said. "This is ridiculous. It's gotta be solved. I’ll have the backbone to stand up as a governor."

Each Republican promised to cut taxes, with little if any explanation of what specific government spending they would eliminate.

Irvin said he'd eliminate a part of the gasoline tax.

"Absolutely, yeah. Give some relief to our residents here in the state of Illinois," he said.

"We're gonna save $10 billion dollars in our budget and we're gonna give that back to the taxpayer because they're paying way too much," Sullivan said.

"For decades, we've allowed our elected officials to continually spend more than we bring in. Now I don't know about you, but I can't do that on the farm and I don't think that you can do it in your business or your home," Bailey said.

Each Republican described himself as pro-life on abortion, with several looking forward to the Supreme Court potentially overruling Roe v. Wade in the next month or two.

Irvin attacked Democratic incumbent Gov. Pritzker for recently signing a new law.

"A kid can't get an aspirin in high school without their parent being notified and many cases giving consent. Yet JB Pritzker thought it was acceptable to sign into law legislation that allowed a teenager – 13, 14, 15 – to walk into an abortion clinic and get an abortion without their parents being notified? That's abhorrent," Irvin said.

"When I heard this news come down from the Supreme Court, then I went with my family and young children and got on our knees and said a prayer of gratitude for all those unborn children whose lives are gonna be saved as a result of this ruling," Sullivan said.

A spokeswoman for Pritzker responded: "the extremism that has enveloped the GOP was on full display tonight and the choice for working families couldn't be more clear."