Gubernatorial Candidates in Both Parties Step Up Ad-Buys in Illinois

Political ads for gubernatorial candidates are continuing to hit the airwaves in Illinois, and one ad buy is capturing a lot of attention, as the Democratic Governors’ Association is buying $3 million worth of commercials. The ads will begin airing on Fox News Channel this week, and while Republicans accuse Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of meddling, he says that the party is returning the favor after the GOP bought ads during the 2018 race. As for what the candidates think, GOP candidate Jesse Sullivan says that the ad buy shows him that the race is winnable for Republicans. “What this tells me is that this race is winnable, and why wouldn’t it be,” he said. “We are the worst-run state in the entire nation, and J.B. Pritzker has failed us.” Don Tracy, the Illinois GOP chairman, suggests that Pritzker is worried about the candidate he will face in November. “It sure does seem like he’s nervous, and based on some of the radical stuff the Democrats have been doing, including their war on parents and their war on police, they should be worried,” he said. Downstate Sen. Darren Bailey, who was one of the first candidates to jump into the race, bought his first ads of the campaign this week, putting them up against Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who has been running ads for weeks with the support of billionaire GOP booster Ken Griffin. “There’s nothing the left fears more than Republicans who look like me and think like us,” Irvin said in his latest ad. Meanwhile, Irvin’s fellow Republicans have been hitting back at his candidacy. Some have questioned contracts made while he’s been in his position as Aurora’s mayor, with the city awarding a $3.2 million contract to Scientel Solutions after the company donated more than $135,000 in political funds to his campaigns. That donation, disclosed by the Aurora Beacon and WTTW, was dismissed by an Irvin spokesperson, who said that Scientel “was the lowest-responsible bidder” on a contract for tech and security cameras. The spokesperson also said that the contract was completed through a third-party, and that Irvin had nothing to do with the final agreement. Even with that dismissal, Sullivan said that the situation speaks to what he calls “pay-to-play politics” in the state. “I’ve seen this all before,” he said. “It’s pay-to-play politics. It’s on both sides of the aisle. It’s how things work in Illinois. It’s a culture of corruption, and I’m an outsider to politics.”

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