* Darren Bailey does a Facebook Live broadcast just about every morning. From today’s…
I’ve just got to one word of wisdom to the people out there who who, you know, the names that are being mentioned, Mr. Griffin and others: You guys are smart. You’ve worked hard for your money. You’ve got common sense. And I know you know all about taking risks. And I’m here to tell you that I’m a farmer. I won’t give up. I’m a hard worker. I have common sense. I’ve been the only one standing up for the state of Illinois and the people there and our friends in Chicago are realizing the same thing. So I hope you don’t waste your money and you put it to good work and that would only obviously be behind me.
So how’s that for a sales pitch because I know you’re watching.
I think he said that knowing he had no chance of success, but to make sure his followers knew he’d at least tried.
Let’s move along to a coverage roundup.
* Subscribers know more, but here’s Politico…
The head of a dark money group that helped defeat last year’s graduated income tax measure is behind a campaign to elect a Republican candidate to run against Gov. JB Pritzker in 2022. And the money behind the effort will come from billionaire Ken Griffin.
Mike Zolnierowicz, who was former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first chief of staff, is working the levers of this operation, according to two Playbook sources. The former governor, however, is not involved. Zolnierowicz, or Mike Z, did not return a request for comment.
Interviews with potential candidates have been held in secrecy with Zolnierowicz. Word got out, however, that there’s interest in Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to run for governor and state Rep. Avery Bourne to join the ticket as lieutenant governor. Neither returned requests for comment.
It’s part of a plan for Griffin to bankroll a slate of GOP candidates, reports Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore.
* From Brenden Moore’s story…
A source familiar confirmed that Irvin is among multiple candidates being considered for the top of the ticket, but no final decisions have been made.
Griffin, who is Illinois’ wealthiest person, denied that he has settled on a specific gubernatorial candidate to take on Pritzker, whom he has pledged to go “all in” to defeat next year.
“We have real problems in Illinois with violence, corruption and profligate spending and I look forward to supporting candidates — be it Republican or Democrat — who will address these issues that plague our state,” Griffin said in a statement.
A source close to Griffin said that “the field for next year’s election hasn’t fully formed yet and Ken hasn’t made a decision” and reiterated that “there is also no spending number as there is no candidate.”
* Pearson at the Tribune…
Besides Irvin, who was elected as Aurora’s first Black mayor in 2017, the tentative ticket also includes state Rep. Avery Bourne as lieutenant governor. Bourne, 29, a three-term lawmaker from Downstate Morrisonville, is widely viewed as a future star in the party. […]
But some Republicans are questioning the strategy of a Griffin-backed slate being pushed through a cash-hungry state GOP.
“These Griffin people behind the curtain, we don’t know. Is it like the Wizard of Oz?” said one prominent Republican who asked not to be identified because he didn’t want to anger Griffin.
“I’m not saying they don’t have any credibility, but it’s a little bold to say to the Republican State Central Committee, ‘OK boys and girls, line up. This is what we’re going to do,’“ the source said.
The Republican said he also didn’t see the existing candidates for governor dropping out of the race, opening the door to further divisions within the state GOP.
It isn’t really all that bold. The state party has no money, no real organizational ability and little credibility with Republicans on the ground. They’ll do what they’re told. And the division already exists. That’s what open primaries do.
* Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times…
Irvin was raised by a single mother in Aurora’s public housing, according to a bio on the city’s website. The East Aurora High School grad enlisted in the Army and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
He was also an assistant state’s attorney in the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney and a prosecutor in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Should he decide to enter the Republican gubernatorial field he’ll likely be made to answer for his voting history.
His voting record shows he’s pulled Democratic ballots for the 2014, 2016 and 2020 primaries, according to Kane County officials. Irvin requested a Republican ballot in 2018 when then-Gov. Bruce Rauner was facing a challenge from then-state Rep. Jeanne Ives.
* Natalie Edelstein at the Pritzker campaign…
Ken Griffin’s insistence on bringing Bruce Rauner’s failed style of leadership back to the governor’s office is a disservice to working families everywhere. Mr. Griffin has been transparent about his desire to install someone in Springfield that will do his bidding, and this latest announcement is further proof that Ken will stop at nothing to push his pawns in this radical, out of touch game of GOP chess.
Governor Pritzker is focused on putting working families first and will always have their backs, no matter what.