* The Belleville News-Democrat asked gubernatorial candidates: “Who are your top three campaign contributors?” Here’s Richard Irvin’s response…
We have three main contributors to our campaign to take back our state: people who tell us we have their vote, people who volunteer to put up signs or make phone calls to get our message out, and people who contribute financially to help us fight back against the millions of dollars. J.B. Pritkzer and his Democratic allies are spending on false TV ads attacking us. I’m proud to count Troopers Lodge #41, the Illinois FOP Labor Council, the Chicago FOP, the Aurora police union, and countless law enforcement leaders around the state as supporters of our campaign. I’m also proud to be supported by former Congressman John Shimkus and many other conservative leaders around Illinois.
Apparently, Ken Griffin is the man who must not be named.
…Adding… The Daily Herald endorsed Irvin, but with one caveat, and it was directly related to Ken Griffin…
Two additional candidates round out the primary field, Gary Rabine, a highly successful owner of multiple businesses from McHenry, and state Sen. Darren Bailey, a farmer from downstate Xenia whose career in the legislature was most noted for his expulsion from the House floor when, then a state representative, he refused to abide by rules at the height of the pandemic requiring all members to wear face masks.
Be aware: We are not indifferent to the optics or the complications posed by Irvin’s well-publicized, well-financed backing by Illinois’ richest person, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin. Irvin still has far to go to prove that he is indeed his own person, willing to lead according to the dictates of his own conscience and insights and not those of a well-heeled financial backer.
But we hope he gets more opportunity in a broader campaign to show his full personal political profile.
…Adding… The Tribune endorsed Paul Schimpf (I did not make that up), used a quote from my publication to disqualify Bailey from consideration and had this to say about Griffin and Irvin…
As politically engaged Illinoisans, Griffin and Uihlein are entitled to spend their money as they see fit. But we see troubling issues with both of their preferred candidates. […]
But we’re troubled by what occurred when Irvin arrived on the scene while officers were arresting his then-girlfriend, accused of hitting a security guard at a marijuana store last year. According to a police report, he said that the charges would be “taken care of.” He’s insisted he meant that the woman would be afforded an attorney but we’ve heard phrases like “taken care of” a few too many times before in Illinois politics and we need a better explanation.
We’re similarly troubled by Irvin’s frequent reticence when it comes to being frank with the media (although he did show up for us and answered our queries), his sometimes prickly temperament in the face of fair questions, and by a lack of a consistent worldview that could appeal to moderate Democrats and Republicans looking for a common sense candidate they can trust to safeguard their economic futures and solve some of the state’s problems.
If Irvin is willing to separate from Trump and appeal to moderate, common sense voters, including centrist Democrats, he should find the courage to say so, clearly, without weaving and dodging, flip-flopping and hedging his bets.