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Downstate vs. Chicagoland

Friday, Dec 3, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jim Nowlan

In 2018, the 6½ suburban counties around Chicago cast a total of 2.1 million votes; those in the 95 counties “downstate” cast 1.5 million.

Not sure why he didn’t include the city, where Bruce Rauner received 135,028 votes in the general election.

Whatever. The column prompted me to run the 2018 numbers. In the 2018 general election, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties accounted for 64 percent of the total vote and Downstate made up 36 percent. In the 2018 Republican primary, those counties were 47 percent of the total vote, with Downstate voters comprising 53 percent of the electorate.

This is the basic hurdle that all statewide Republican hopefuls have to overcome. It ain’t easy to do both.

* With that in mind, check out what Sen. Bailey is promoting on social media…

* More from that story

Bailey, who with his wife, Cindy, founded a preschool-through-12th-grade Christian school in southern Illinois, also touched on education during the two-hour rally.

“Public education is under attack,” he said. “My friends, we need to get back to public education.”

Bailey also made a push for people to become election judges.

“Is there election fraud? Yes,” he said. “That’s why everyone of us should be election judges.”

Um, OK.

* Point and counterpoint…

* Now with video…

* The conclusion of Nowlan’s column

I think the ideal GOP [gubernatorial] candidate would be a credible, law-and-order prosecutor (think Jim Thompson in the 1970s), because law and order will be a leading issue in 2022. Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in the city.

Lacking such, or a consolidation of Sullivan, Schimpf, Rabine into one candidacy, Bailey wins the primary, at least as of right now. But in the November general election, Bailey would likely be the darling of downstate, while falling flat in the ’burbs, winning an enthusiastic 40 percent of the total vote.

So, a possible doofus at the top [for US Senate], with Bailey just below, could spell disaster for other races down the long ballot, because of depressed GOP turnout. For example, I have an interest in two, important Illinois Supreme Court races, located in mostly suburban districts. But voters do not go to the polls, or not, because of unknown Supreme Court candidates. Thus, these competitive races, found at the very bottom of the ticket, could be determined at the top of the ballot.

Illinois GOP leaders should get on their knees to top-drawer citizens who might be willing, out of a sense of noblesse oblige, to take on a likely losing U.S. Senate race, and hope that a candidate who can appeal in the suburbs will emerge from the gubernatorial primary.

One thing he’s ignoring is the national mood, which tends to drive turnout more than individual candidates. But his scenario could help undermine any expected GOP midterm wave.

…Adding… The Tribune has a new piece that covers much of the same issues that we’ve been taking about on this site

“The real pandemic in Illinois … is the violence that we’re facing here on the streets of Chicago and now spreading all throughout the state,” state Sen. Darren Bailey, a farmer from downstate Xenia and one of four announced GOP candidates for governor, said during a recent stop in Woodlawn on Chicago’s South Side.

Confronting Democrats on crime is a strategy Republicans have employed for decades, notably when George H.W. Bush used the early release of Willie Horton, a Massachusetts murderer who went on to commit other crimes, to paint Michael Dukakis as soft on crime in the 1988 presidential campaign.

But rather than inciting fear to motivate voters as was the case then, Republicans say they are addressing real concerns over rising crime in the city and in the suburbs.


  1. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    That’s some pretty weak sauce from Darren Bailey. It may help in a GOP primary but good luck in the General.

  2. - Unconventionalwisdom - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:10 pm:

    Like it or not Bailey does make an occasional good point. He certainly understands that many people are tired of the usual political ‘talk’ and pat ‘answers’. He also understand the unrest out there as the state and nation becomes ever more divided.

    He really wants to be Governor. Can he win the primary? Right now I don’t see anyone to effectively challenge him.

    Will he win the election? Not unless some scandal envelops Pritzker and I don’t see that happening.

    At the statewide level Illinois is DEM and getting more so. I don’t see Pritzker in any fraud. And Bailey is not a uniter even within his own party.

  3. - Mrsfloyddog - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    There’s generally a shortage of election judges, and that’s a long, boring day where you’re basically just observing. There’s nothing magical about it (except for the end of the day, when you get to go home)

  4. - Frank talks - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:13 pm:

    Gas prices still being high and another record year of homicides in Chicago could put the GOP in better shape. Having a real candidate who can pull suburban votes at top of ticket would help. Beyond that catering to downstate voters with hard right ideologies to grab that 53% during the primary will hurt during the general.

  5. - Kendall Co Moderate - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:14 pm:

    Primaries and generals are two different races with different strategies. And then, if the person is actually elected into office, that could also trigger yet another shift.

  6. - The Way I See It - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    The biggest antidote to brlieving that there is tons of election fraud is to serve as an election judge or poll watcher.

  7. - So_Ill - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:20 pm:

    Darren Bailey as the GOP nominee would be an absolute GIFT to democrats.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:21 pm:

    Sullivan: JB ruling “for the wealthy few.” Wait, so JB is not a socialist? Did Sullivan not check into ILGOP HQ to get his talking points?

    Actually, Pritzker has done quite a lot for downstate and lower-income Illinoisans, from raising the minimum wage to investing in infrastructure, childcare and education. The dude tried to tax the rich more. We can’t predict exactly how voters will vote for governor next year, but would love to go into a campaign with JB’s record.

  9. - Dirty Red - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:22 pm:

    Weak sauce is a specialty when your Party has no platform beyond, “Whatever it takes to own the libs.”

    These numbers…how do more operatives not just have them at their fingertips? The Edgars, Ryans, Topinkas could (and still can) recite them from memory. It served them fairly well.

  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===Illinois GOP leaders should get on their knees to top-drawer citizens who might be willing, out of a sense of noblesse oblige, to take on a likely losing U.S. Senate race===

    Noblesse oblige? Won’t some wealthy fool save us from the poor fools we will surely nominate?

    Ladies and gentleman, this is today’s party of Lincoln. Reduced to begging for volunteer sacrificial lambs to protect them for their own voters.

    Why doesn’t Nowlan step up then?

  11. - Walker - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    “”Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in the city.””

    A small portion of them yes, for whom it’s a conflation of multiple issues. This can be leveraged and grown by political messaging, but it will all depend on general confidence and feelings of well-being nearer the election

  12. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    == because law and order will be a leading issue in 2022. Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in city==

    Is this really the case, or just a never-ending gop talking point? It’s not like spikes of violence in the city are a new thing. It’s been bad for as long as I can remember, was bad when I moved out of Chicago in the late 90’s. And for as long as I can remember, suburban republicans have been claiming every election cycle that violence is going to spill over at any moment now. Yet the burns keep trending dem. What (supposedly) has changed that we should believe the claims now?

  13. - Anon221 - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:32 pm:

    The colors and designs of Bailey’s digital poster make me want to break out the Pepto. Really distracts from whatever message his team is trying to lay on Pritzker. And where they placed, in small print, “Darren Bailey for Governor”, makes it looks like Bailey is in a small intestine headed “south”.

  14. - We've never had one before - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    Let’s not kid ourselves if we think that only those 95 “downstate” counties have gun owners, that people in the Cook-n-Collar counties are not worried about their gun rights.

    Two years for a new FOID card resonates. 8 hours on hold on the phone, unable to talk to anyone at the ISP, that resonates.

  15. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:39 pm:

    Timing, Darren. It’s all about timing. The statement “ I will die on my porch before I give up my guns” is ludicrous for one who is a candidate for governor of Illinois. Consider the tragedy in Michigan where teenagers died and many are hospitalized because of gun violence.

    Darren, devote your time to reading and to understanding the budget and the various legislation before the State Senate. It would be time we’ll spent.

  16. - Homebody - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:41 pm:

    The majority of the things Bailey identifies as “top mistakes” of Pritzker are either imaginary, not mistakes, or both.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:46 pm:

    Couple things.

    === Why doesn’t Nowlan step up then?===


    This too…

    ===Bruce Rauner received 135,028 votes in the general election.===

    What was it - Wordslinger would remind? That’s right… Cook County and the numerous GOP votes there… almost wholly ignored.

    If your of the ilk of Bailey being the answer, you’re not grasping the question.

    I’ll leave it there for now.

  18. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    “Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in city”

    I can remember growing up in the burbs in the mid 90s. We would often go to the city on weekends for some fun of various sorts. One weekend we were mugged at gunpoint just outside of lincoln park around 9pm. We went back the next weekend as if nothing had happened. That was 25 years ago, and when I look back on it the emotion that comes to mind is amusement. It’s a fun story to reminisce.

    For a crowd constantly banging on the drum of don’t live your life in fear, they sure seem to be afraid of a lot of things in their life.

  19. - Hmm - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    I don’t understand, why would Bailey have to die on his porch?

  20. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    -There’s generally a shortage of election judges, and that’s a long, boring day where you’re basically just observing.-

    And if these types of folks sign up and do anything other than that, it’s they who would be committing offenses like fraud and interference.

  21. - Jocko - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    ==Bailey does make an occasional good point.==

    Since when? All I hear is boogeymen like gun confiscation, CRT in public schools, and election fraud. Not to mention bystanders getting shot mere feet from him.

  22. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:00 pm:

    “I don’t understand, why would Bailey have to die on his porch?”

    Because the ICU will be full of COVID patients.

  23. - We've never had one before - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:01 pm:

    >>>> All I hear is boogeymen like gun confiscation

    Talk to Sen Morrison and Rep Stoneback.

  24. - City Zen - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:07 pm:

    No BTS on JB’s #SpotifyWrapped list?

  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:09 pm:

    === “I don’t understand, why would Bailey have to die on his porch?”

    Because the ICU will be full of COVID patients.===

    Now you’re just showing off… well done.

    Ok, to the post,

    First, of course Nowlan has an interest in the ILSC races, lol, that pesky new map changed quite a bit. Winning fir the sake of being behind the 8-Ball.

    The party… for Illinois… try to get to five congressional seats, but with Schneider and Raja getting passes these days… Underwood, Foster, Casten… need 2 of those three… Trumpkin types may not be great.

    If the party was at all serious at a comeback… use all than energy to go after an open SoS and a very vulnerable Treasurer…. High patronage job office, a money office to make hay…

    … then reset, regroup, and recruit… statehouse races….

    They need to hope Abortion isn’t reorganizing midterm thinking, and keep Trump away from the suburbs.

    The given Gubernatorial field, they are weak.

    The given Senatorial field… weaker still.

    Build on where hay can be made. Be honest where it can be made too.

  26. - Y'alternative - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:09 pm:

    Mask mandates will get Pritzker more votes than cost him votes statewide…

    I can’t believe Bailey forgot to add something along the lines of “giving criminals engaged in drug trafficking massive business preferences over law abiding citizens…”

    It seems like Bailey wants to be Governor of BF Egypt and not the State of Illinois.

  27. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:12 pm:

    Curious why Bailey (mis)used the word “genre” in his digital poster? He clearly doesn’t know what it means and I doubt his supporters do either. The guy is just silly.

  28. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    “I will die on my porch before I give up my guns,” Bailey said…confirming the GOP’s fetish and obsession with death and guns.

  29. - Roadrager - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==“Public education is under attack,” he said. “My friends, we need to get back to public education.”==

    Translation: The government subsidizes my farm to the tune of seven figures, and I would like them to do the same for my religious school.

  30. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    Elite - A select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

  31. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    Come on there were better ways to go back to JB on the Spotify thing

    You Can’t Always Get What You Want
    Gimme Some Money
    My Prerogative

    It isn’t that hard

  32. - Publius - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    The voters who are”Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in the city.” are were not voting for Pritzker anyway. However, if Bailey is the GOP nominee I think they would mostly stay home.

  33. - Sharia Capo - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==Curious why Bailey (mis)used the word “genre” in his digital poster? ==

    He probably meant “mantra”. It reminds me of Pat Pfingsten using “pariah” for panacea when he was an interviewer.

  34. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    About the term genre…there is no way that Darren understands the meaning of genre. Perhaps someone on his team provided that nugget.

    Remember last year Darren confused desert and dessert. Spelling is not in his wheelhouse.

  35. - JS Mill - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:00 pm:

    =Illinois GOP leaders should get on their knees to top-drawer citizens who might be willing, out of a sense of noblesse oblige, to take on a likely losing U.S. Senate race=

    So he wants an elite patriarch type, even a patrician.

    Bailey don’t want no “elites” but is a multi millionaire just based on socialist farming practices. Sounds elite to me.

    =For a crowd constantly banging on the drum of don’t live your life in fear, they sure seem to be afraid of a lot of things in their life.=

    Yep, Ron Reagan is disgusted by these fake tough guys.

    =“I don’t understand, why would Bailey have to die on his porch?”

    Because the ICU will be full of COVID patients.=

    To somewhat quote Ricky Bobby- That is the stupidest thing I ever hear. Yeah, you got me, that is awesome.

    I am still laughing.

  36. - The Doc - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    Whenever I see/hear Bailey, I try to remember that he’s not really running for governor, and this is all performance art in furtherance of the grift.

  37. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:15 pm:

    I offered this take the other day. The successful GOP candidate must appeal to downstate AND suburban voters. Messaging to one or another is easy. But both? That’s quite the hill to climb these days. I suppose if you could appeal to the sensibilities of the business class and maybe occasionally dress up as a familiar “folksy” type you might be able to pull it off - once.

  38. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:24 pm:

    “Public education is under attack”
    Is he stating this as one of his accomplishments?

  39. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:30 pm:

    =Suburbanites are scared witless by the violence in the city.=

    As a suburbanite, and speaking only for myself, I’m scared more witless by those that would look to upend are democratic rule of law and those that enable it. In fact its many of the same people who would otherwise look to scare us witless about violence in the city are the same ones who don’t really seem to care much about democracy and the rule of law.

  40. - Medvale School for the Gifted. - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    You tell ‘em, Darren. Don’t let them take your guns.
    (By the way, who is trying to get your guns?)

  41. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:52 pm:

    =Illinois GOP leaders should get on their knees to top-drawer citizens who might be willing, out of a sense of noblesse oblige, to take on a likely losing U.S. Senate race=

    Might want to ask Bruce Rauner for his list of names. Maybe they’ve warmed up to the idea.

  42. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:39 pm:

    Suburbanites were supposed to be “scared witless” by social unrest in 2020 but overwhelmingly did not vote for the top of the GOP ticket, or help end ILGOP super-minority status.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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