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Who is Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for Illinois governor?


Personal details: Bailey resides in Xenia, about 90 miles east of St. Louis, with his wife, Cindy, to whom he’s been married for 35 years. He owns and operates Bailey Family Farm with his two sons. Bailey and his wife founded Full Armor Christian Academy in 2017, a preschool through 12th grade institution that offers Christian-centered education. Bailey served 17 years on the North Clay Community Unit School District 25 Board of Education in Louisville and spent the last 12 of those years as president of the board.

Age: 56

Born: Louisville, Illinois

Education: Associate’s degree in agricultural production at Land Lake College in Mattoon.

Current job: Represents the 55th District in the Illinois Senate. Bailey was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives’ 109th district in 2018 for one term before running for state Senate in the 55th district in 2020.

Claims to fame: Bailey has experienced a meteoric rise over the past few years, becoming an outspoken leader of the state’s Republican Party as it’s moved further to the right. Harnessing the MAGA-style of populism of former President Donald Trump, Bailey made headlines in early 2020 with his over-the-top proposal to kick the city of Chicago out of the state.

In May 2022, Bailey again attacked Chicago during a GOP debate, calling the city “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.”

He also gained headlines across the state as a critic of Pritzker and the governor’s stay-at-home order during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, filing a lawsuit to challenge the order in April 2020.

Stances: Bailey opposes abortion, having voted against the expansion of abortion access in Illinois.

Bailey also contends he’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has voted against gun control legislation, saying he believes that gun education is needed for those opposed to gun rights.

He’s repeatedly opposed tax hikes and what he calls “reckless spending.” He also advocates for term limits “to prevent politicians from advancing their own agendas, rather than what’s best for Illinois.”

In the news: Bailey’s response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, garnered him more pre-primary attention, stating, “Now, this battle for life in the front lines moves right here to Illinois. We need a governor who will stand proudly for life.”

Endorsements: Illinois Federation for Right to Life, A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education of Illinois, Donald Trump.

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