Pritzker and Bailey accuse each other of lying throughout Illinois governor debate
Both Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) and his Republican challenger, state Sen. Darren Bailey (R), traded heated exchanges during the gubernatorial debate on Thursday, each accusing the other of lying on multiple fronts.
The two candidates in the race for governor of Illinois butted heads on several issues, including stances on the state budget, gun control, abortion, and crime reduction. Bailey especially criticized the incumbent governor for his handling of crime while in office, taking aim at Pritzker’s SAFE-T Act that he signed into law last year.
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The SAFE-T Act is an overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system that seeks to address excessive force by police and end the use of cash bail for detainees. Several state Republicans have criticized the move, calling it a “revolving door” for criminals to enter and exit state jails.
“Lies. More lies. He’s not telling the truth,” Pritzker said during the debate. “The criminal justice system that Darren Bailey and Republicans are standing up for is one that allows murderers and rapists and domestic abusers to buy their way out of jail.”
Pritzker continued to paint his opponent as a flip-flopper throughout the debate, arguing the Republican state senator is a “hypocrite.” Bailey, on the other hand, accused the Democratic incumbent of “crushing” the state because he is “ hell-bent on becoming the most radical leftist governor in America.”
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Pritzker, first elected to office in 2018 after a budget stalemate left the state billions of dollars in debt, touted his ability to balance the budget over the last four years as a reason to be reelected. Bailey pushed back, arguing Pritzker had depended on federal relief during the COVID-19 pandemic while failing to fund employee pension systems.
Pritzker is favored to win the race, leading Bailey in the polls 51%-36%, according to a recent survey by Emerson College. The Democratic incumbent has also vastly outraised his Republican challenger, reporting more than $60 million in cash on hand as of June 30 compared to Bailey who had just under $2 million at the time, according to the Associated Press.