Illinois election results: JB Pritzker wins 2nd governor term, defeating Darren Bailey

JB Pritzker has been reelected as governor of Illinois

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Thursday, November 10, 2022
JB Pritzker re-elected as Illinois governor
Illinois governor JB Pritzker won his second term in the 2022 midterms, defeating Republican Darren Bailey handily.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker has won a second term as Illinois governor, defeating Republican Darren Bailey.

The Associated Press called the race for Pritzker about nine minutes after polls closed. The governor appears to have won by margins akin to those he beat Bruce Rauner with in 2018 -- double digits.

The win capped a race characterized by nearly constant acrimony and outsized spending. Pritzker first won political office in 2018 when he took the governor's seat. His reelection win was buoyed by a campaign on fiscal stability and taxpayer relief. Bailey is a southern Illinois farmer and conservative supporter of former President Donald Trump. Pritzker is a billionaire equity investor and philanthropist who called Bailey "too extreme" for Democrat-heavy Illinois.

Pritzker thanked a raucous room full of supporters at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, telling them, "Thank you for placing your trust in me to carry out this mission for four more years. I won't let you down!"

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker thanks supporters at victory rally

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker spoke after he and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton won their reelection bid.

Pritzker called on supporters to work with him, be bold and not shy away from Democratic values on jobs, health care and women's rights. His biggest cheer during his speech came when addressing abortion.

"Let me be even clearer: Anyone who thinks that they can come into this state and try to force some right-wing MAGA war on a woman's body, you will never get an inch of Illinois," Pritzker said.

WATCH: Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton thanks supporters at victory rally

Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton spoke after she and Gov. JB Pritzker were elected to another term/

His remarks touched on accomplishments and sparked presidential speculation, at times seeming geared toward a national audience, with attacks directed at Republicans in general and Donald Trump in particular. They also noted he never mentioned his opponent Darren Bailey by name.

"These days ahead will be hard, but do not tell me the fight cannot be won. The fabric of our nation has been frayed and torn before, and Illinois has always had a large role in putting it back together," Pritzker said.

"He's positioned himself very well within the Democratic Party establishment to be a leader and a spokesperson, he's not afraid to go to battle, and for him he wanted to project that," said Jamie Dominguez, political science professor at Northwestern University.

But, on Wednesday, Pritzker said he's not focused on a presidential run, instead he said he's focused on being the governor of Illinois.

"As we embark on a second term, my administration will be laser focused on continuing to rebuild Illinois, an Illinois that works for everyone," he said.

He also denied that he's had any conversations with Democrats on the national level, and defended his speech as being about issues not political ambitions.

"I wanted to make clear what I stand for, that's all. I'm an Illinoisan through and through, I want to be governor of Illinois for the next four years," he said.

Now voters are also looking to the future.

"I went to vote yesterday, so I'm glad all the ads and everything is over with," voter Bria Morgan said.

Illinoisans who have had a night to sleep on the mid-term election results are hopeful for the future and looking to Pritzker to lead on issues important to them.

Evenita McGruder has a list.

"Opportunities for business owners, minorities, women, education, things that will help build the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois," she said.

Krista Toth said the governor had her vote.

"I think he did a great job, and he's going to continue to do a great job," she said.

Voter George Houston is just happy all of the talk is over, and he's hoping the governor will keep his promises.

"All of the talk, just take care of the issues and the points that you said you were going to do now that you've been reelected for four more years," he said.

Pritzker held a news conference at 11 a.m. in the South Loop to talk about his next chapter in office.

Gov. JB Pritzker spoke about his next steps Wednesday morning.

He said now it's back to work, and vowed to keep fighting against hate and protecting women's rights.

He promised to lead a clean energy revolution and be a beacon of hope.

"As we embark on a second term, my administration will be laser-focused on continuing to rebuild Illinois, an Illinois that work for everyone regardless of their background or the zip code that they live in," Pritzker said.

Bailey spoke to supporters in Springfield, thanking them and saying he had called Pritzker to congratulate him on his win.

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Darren Bailey thanked his supporters as he conceded the race to Gov. JB Pritzker.

He repeatedly told supporters he is proud of the platform he ran on, based on his core Christian values and beliefs. He also ran on cracking down on crime, lowering taxes, and as he put it on the campaign trail, making Illinois more attractive to business.

"I may not be going to Springfield as your next governor, but I will never stop fighting," Bailey said. "My priorities will continue to be the things that unite us: protecting our freedoms, bringing jobs to our state, and safety to our streets. Republicans need to be the loyal opposition in Springfield. Loyal to our state, loyal to our country, loyal to our constitution, but in opposition to the radical policies of the Democrats."

Bailey also said Republicans may have lost this race at a statewide level, but warned Pritzker he needs to do better.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.