Pritzker, Bailey offer voters very different visions for Illinois' future — what to know

After spending millions of dollars to help state Senator Darren Bailey become his Republican opponent, Gov. JB Pritzker launched a long-planned attack Wednesday.

"The extremists have taken over the Illinois Republican Party. That's who's showing up to vote and that is why Darren Bailey won," Pritzker said.

The governor and Bailey both sat down with FOX 32’s Political Editor Mike Flannery after the Illinois primary on Tuesday.


On day one of the general election campaign, the two men clashed on gun rights, with Sen. Bailey promising to move to abolish Illinois’ FOID system of firearm owners identification cards.

"The FOID card serves no purpose. Any other state around us comes to Illinois to buy ammunition or guns and all they have to is present their driver's license. They're given a federal background check, which I have no problem with and then they move on," Bailey said.

The Democratic incumbent strongly disagrees with his Republican challenger.

"These are the same guys that didn't want to ban ghost guns. These are the same guys that think it's ok that we have automatic weapons in the hands of just anybody," Pritzker said. "We have put in place pretty decent gun safety laws in Illinois. They want to tear them apart. I understand. What we need is the federal level to institute gun safety laws that will protect us."

That barely scratches the surface of the disagreements between the governor and Sen. Bailey.

Gov. Pritzker and Sen. Bailey come from opposite ends of the state of Illinois, and opposite ends of the political spectrum.

On abortion, for example, each calls the other an "extremist."

"I think it's hilarious that Gov. Pritzker would call me an extremist. I think it's obvious who the extremist is," Bailey said. "Parents want the return of parental notification. They don't want their 12-year-old daughters going out and being able to have an abortion without them knowing it."

Pritzker recently signed a new law abolishing Illinois’ previous requirement that parents be told before a minor child has an abortion.

Bailey said he would, if it becomes politically possible in the general assembly, move to ban all abortions, except those necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. It’s a Bailey position the Democratic governor features in his first post-primary TV ad.

"[Darren Bailey] is the most extreme Republican nominee [their party has] seen, I think, in my lifetime," Pritzker said.

The governor and state senator are two very different candidates, offering voters this fall very different visions for the future of Illinois.