The Lincoln Club of McLean County on Thursday evening hosted its inaugural event at the Bloomington Country Club. Billed as an educational forum, the event was entitled “Can Illinois Be Fixed?”
As debated by a panel of GOP leaders, that question centered largely around another question: Can Republicans unseat Gov. JB Pritzker in the 2022 gubernatorial race?
The answer, according to former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar is … maybe.
He was joined on the panel by state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington and former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady. The event was moderated by state Sen. Jason Barickman, also of Bloomington.
Edgar said the problem facing Republicans in a gubernatorial race is the growing chasm between a state that’s moving left and a party that’s moving right.
“One of the things I found as a downstater running is you can’t scare the folks up north,” Edgar said. “Now, I could get votes up there and there’s some I didn’t get. But, for the most part, they weren’t scared of me. They didn’t think I was going to be evil, so they didn’t go out and try to beat me. So, if we have candidates who sound pretty harsh and talk about ‘well, let’s [kick] Chicago out of the state.’ that’s not going to play well.”
That was an implicit dig at state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who co-sponsored a resolution last session calling for Chicago to be made its own state. Bailey announced his gubernatorial campaign in 2022. […]
Edgar, when asked about prospective candidates who might have a shot against Pritzker, named U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Barickman.
Barickman, first elected to the House in 2011 before moving over to the Senate in 2013, said he’s not ruling out a gubernatorial campaign and will make a decision “later this summer.”