Illinois governor election: Pritzker, Bailey whip up core base before polls open Tuesday

CHICAGO (WLS) — The candidates for Illinois governor were both out Monday night, rallying last-minute support.

Voters were also out.

There were long lines at early voting sites across the Chicago area. Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

This heated midterm election could reshape the balance of power in Washington.

But, in Illinois, one of the most-watched contests is the race for governor.

Gov. JB Pritzker appealed to labor groups, while Republican challenger Darren Bailey raised concerns about the possibility of a vaccine mandate for school children, hoping the talking point would mobilize suburban moms.

2022 ELECTION | Voter Information in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Bailey held a rally with dozens of suburban women who had previously protested against mask and vaccine mandates imposed by Pritzker during the pandemic.

“Now his minions are looking to impose vaccine mandates on our children,” Bailey said. “No absolutely not. That’s right.”

Meanwhile Pritzker hosted a series of rallies in union halls across the state, joining with other Democrats on the ballot to tap into support from labor.

“It has never been more important to vote than right now, because Darren Bailey and the Republicans want to take this state backwards. Darren Bailey wants to end workers’ rights,” Pritzker said.

The candidates are wrapping up a caustic campaign season by whipping up their core base of voters.

Pritzker ended his six-city hop around the state in Rockford, flanked by fellow Democrats on the ballot.

Bailey joined a raucously welcoming crowd in south suburban Merrionette Park with most of the Chicago-area Republicans running for office.

“Friends, it’s now or never. Tomorrow is it for Illinois,” Bailey said.

Pritzker, the incumbent billionaire, and Bailey, the downstate state representative with farming roots, painted vastly different visions for the future of Illinois.

“To protect our fundamental freedoms and to lift up working families we have to elect pro-labor, pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro-voting rights Democrats up and down the ballot,” Pritzker said.

“We’ve got opportunity of a lifetime to restore safety to our streets, lower our taxes, make Illinois a place for working families,” Bailey said.

Bailey and GOP attorney general candidate Tom Devore looked to tap into vaccine frustration to win last minute suburban votes.

ILLINOIS GENERAL ELECTION | Meet the candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress

“I would respectfully disagree with Gov. Pritzker that they are the small fringe minority,” Devore said. “I would respectfully say that they have been for far too long been the silent majority.”

The cited email exchanges by top officials in the Illinois Department of Public Health that show the agency is exploring what steps would have to be taken to impose a vaccine mandate on school kids.

But the Pritzker administration said those concerns are unfounded.

“There are no plans to update the vaccine requirements for school age children. But it should come as no surprise that Darren Bailey and Tom DeVore are once again playing political games with public health,” Pritzker’s office responded in a statement.

The governor’s office said it was exploring what steps need to be taken in order to answer questions about it, which were raised by a Democratic state representative from Bolingbrook.

Polls close at 7 p.m.

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