Republican candidates for Illinois governor face off in 2 forums, attacks focus on Richard Irvin

CHICAGO (WLS) -- 052422-wls-gop-gov-debates-post

Republican candidates for Illinois governor face off in 2 forums

With two debates scheduled on the same night, the Republican candidates for Illinois governor squared off in separate forums.


With two forums scheduled on the same night, the Republican candidates for Illinois governor squared in dueling debates.

Tuesday night abortion, Donald Trump, violent crime and the economy were hot topics of discussion.

In the first debate, presumptive frontrunner Richard Irvin faced Paul Schimpf and Max Solomon, while in the second Darren Bailey, who polls suggest is a close second to Irvin, squared off against Jesse Sullivan and Gary Rabine.

In both, Irvin was squarely under attack.

"Why isn't Mr. Irvin here? I think it's tough for a person that's a Democrat to actually be debating in a Republican atmosphere," said Rabine.

"Well, it's actually a shame that Richard Irvin chose not to be here tonight because I was actually looking forward to having a conversation with him face to face," Bailey said.

Irvin responded with his own challenge to that criticism.

"Hopefully they will show on stage the next time we meet and that's gonna be with ABC on June 2nd, so I look forward to them being there and debating me on stage," he said.

Irvin also took fire because his campaign is largely funded by $45 million in support from Ken Griffin, the state's richest man, which has allowed Irvin to bombard the airwaves with TV ads.

"People in Illinois right now are ready for somebody that is not beholden to insiders, somebody that does not have a billionaire benefactor," Schimpf said.

With the Supreme Court appearing poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the candidates all stressed their pro-life stance. They also talked tough on crime, pointing to recent mass shootings and high profile murders in Chicago.

"The fact is we've got to address crime head on," Irvin said. "You don't simply address it by coming up with kneejerk rules; let's have a curfew, that's not gonna stop crime."

And they all shared concerns about the Texas school massacre. Max Solomon called for drastic measures in Illinois.

"I will make sure that every school in the state of Illinois has armed security guards that are going to prevent these kinds of things from happening again," he said.

But with time running out before the June 28 primary, criticism of Irvin was a common tactic across his opponents.

"Those who stand for Black Lives Matter like Richard Irvin did get called out on that, that he was someone who stood proudly and strongly for Black Lives Matter that's trying to disintegrate the family unit," Jesse Sullivan said.

ABC7 has scheduled another debate for June 2. So far Irvin, Schimpf, Rabine and Solomon have all committed to participate. There is not yet word from Bailey or Sullivan about whether they will commit to being there.
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