CHICAGO - It’s not quite like former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne moving into Cabrini-Green — but Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey has moved into the John Hancock Center, one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings, to "immerse" himself "in the culture" of a city he’s repeatedly dubbed a "hellhole."
It's a standard line in State Sen. Bailey's speeches as he campaigns for governor of Illinois.
"Let's think about Chicago: crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole," Bailey has said, and repeated on Tuesday.
But now, there's a surprise twist.
The Republican nominee for governor has long-lived on a farm 250 miles south of Chicago. On Tuesday, Bailey announced he also has an apartment on North Michigan Avenue.
"I have immersed myself in the culture of Illinois that I knew nothing about, because I know that I must do that if we're going to lead this state and make it the great state and city that it deserves to be," Bailey said.
Speaking on a West Loop sidewalk where he said two tourists were robbed at gunpoint, bailey blamed increased crime on Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker. And he referenced a bloody, horror story franchise in which people kill each other without any legal consequences.
"Chicago is living ‘The Purge’ when criminals ravage at will and the cops are told to stand down," Bailey said.
Members of the General Assembly's Jewish caucus slammed Bailey's meeting with the Palestinian American Club of suburban Bridgeview, which seeks to overturn a 2017 state law punishing companies who boycott Israel. Their map relabels Israel as "Palestine."
"The issue here is he stood in front of a map knowingly, willingly, intentionally that explicitly wipes Israel off the map," said State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield).
"I strongly support Israel. I always have. And I always will. But i will listen to everyone who wants to come to the table and talk," Bailey said.
Bailey's move to Chicago is not a real surprise. Whether or not he actually considers the city a "hellhole," more than two-thirds of the state's voters live in this area. And, as a candidate for governor, he'll have to spend a lot of time in Chicago between now and Nov. 8.
In 2019, he co-sponsored a House resolution to try to separate Chicago from the rest of the state. But those remarks are earning him high marks in many red parts of the state who feel Chicago isn’t representing them.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.