CHICAGO (WLS) -- Republican party leaders are rallying around GOP gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey at Gibson's Steak House Thursday night as they shift their focus towards November and reaching voters about meat and potato issues.
After winning a tough republican primary against five other opponents, State Senator Darren Bailey is now facing two major tasks as he carries the GOP flag into the November election.
The first is uniting the party.
"My message is, let's put the past behind us, let's forge a new future. Let's work together, make sure that we stick together, that we stick to our platform," said Bailey said.
Bailey said that despite the party establishment backing Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in the primary, he said people have reached out, and like them, are ready to move forward.
"One thing that people find in me is that I put the past behind me, I don't hold grudges," Bailey said.
The State Senate Republican Leader said now for the GOP it's about messaging and reaching voters.
"The big things that the people are talking about out there when we're hitting the doors: cost of living inflation, gas prices, crime, these are the things that they really care about. The governor is doubling down on expansive abortion," said Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie.
After his recent speech to Florida democrats, where Governor JB Pritzker sounded like a potential presidential candidate, republicans wonder if his focus is on another election.
However, they are also concerned about the fundraising challenges.
"When you have a billionaire with an unlimited pocketbook, you know, there's a concern about how do you actually get a message out so that the average person can hear if he buys up all the airtime," McConchie said.
As they gather Thursday night for the first time in person since the primary, Republicans are ready to work hard.
"We're going to work circles around him and we're going to make sure we get to the people. JB Pritzker has failed the people. JB Pritzker is not one of us," Bailey said.
The fundraiser is set to begin around 6 p.m., with tickets ranging from $250 to $10,000. Bailey needs all the financial help he can get to compete with his billionaire opponent.