Irvin, Bourne and Republican slate kick off 2022 election campaign in Springfield

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 9:59 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - There are 113 days left until the 2022 primary election in Illinois. The Republican slate of candidates funded by the richest man in Illinois kicked off their campaign season Monday night in Springfield after filing petitions early in the morning.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) are now touring the state in hopes of winning GOP support. Members of billionaire Ken Griffin’s slate of candidates say Illinois needs strong conservative Republican leaders. Monday was the first time the slate appeared together to answer questions from reporters outside of Chicago and the suburbs.

Irvin says crime, taxes, and wasteful spending are out of control in Illinois.

“I’ve succeeded in reducing taxes in the city of Aurora,” Irvin said. “I’ve exceeded in reducing crime. I’ve exceeded in attracting businesses and jobs. That’s exactly what we need to do for the state of Illinois if we’re gonna take our state back.”

The slate includes downstate Republicans like Bourne and Secretary of State candidate John Milhiser, who formerly served as a US Attorney. Milhiser is now a high school teacher in Springfield and said many of his students distrust the government.

“What once was maybe a healthy skepticism is now a complete distrust of government, of career politicians,” Milhiser said. “They don’t believe that they’re there working for them and we need to change it.”

They also spent time highlighting the recent indictment of former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi says she will “crush corruption as the state’s next comptroller.” However, that office doesn’t handle ethics or corruption.

“I challenge each and every one of you to open up the 2020 financial statements and look to see how the debt has increased,” Teresi told reporters Monday night. “Look to see how much the debt has increased under Susana Mendoza and JB Pritzker.”

Although, Mendoza took office in 2016 inheriting $16 billion in debt. That backlog is now down to $3.8 billion and the comptroller’s office is paying bills within 15 days.

Meanwhile, Attorney General candidate Steve Kim says crime is rampant in Illinois and causing people to flee. Kim said his son is too scared to go to his favorite restaurant.

“I understand the importance of keeping people safe,” Kim explained. “Because without public safety and without public security, you don’t have an active society.”

Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has served in the House for 10 years. Demmer told supporters at the State House Inn that Illinois government has to be more ethical and more responsible.

He noted the Commonwealth Edison deferred prosecution agreement led to charges for several people close to Madigan. Demmer was also the Republican spokesman on the special legislative committee that investigated Madigan throughout 2020.

Demmer said that Democrats protected Madigan throughout the process and prevented a thorough investigation.

“But we created an environment where it became impossible for Democrats to continue to evade those answers. It became impossible for them to refuse to hold their leader accountable,” Demmer said. “By the time the next term rolled around, Mike Madigan didn’t have enough support to remain Speaker of the House. And folks, today, for the first time in 50 years, we can say Mike Madigan is no longer a public official in the state of Illinois.”

The Springfield kickoff felt like a homecoming rally for Bourne, who has served in the Illinois House since 2015. After taking on many legislative battles in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, Bourne said she had her doubts about the future. Bourne then explained that she became a mom two years ago and thought she had to get out of Illinois or do more to improve the state.

Irvin’s service in the Army and as a prosecutor in Aurora helped convince Bourne he would be a strong candidate for governor. Bourne explained she walked around the state’s second-largest city with Irvin and realized how many people recognize his efforts each day.

“He implemented conservative policies in a Democratic town, and, what do you know, they worked. I knew that I wanted to be a policy partner with him in Springfield to do what he has done in Aurora and to take back our state,” Bourne said.

While many downstate Republicans are rallying behind Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) for governor, Irvin says he plans to travel throughout central and southern Illinois to show why he is the best candidate.

“I’ve succeeded in many areas as mayor where JB Pritzker has failed,” Irvin said. “I want to make sure that we succeed when I’m the governor of Illinois and Avery Bourne is the lieutenant governor.”

Capitol Bureau Reporter Lizzie Seils talked with other Republican candidates for governor Monday morning.

Prospective candidates for office must file their petitions by the end of business on March 14. The primary election is scheduled for June 28.

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