Illinois governor race: JB Pritzker wins 2nd term as governor, defeating Darren Bailey

As race for governor of Illinois come to a close, candidates drumming up last-minute support

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
JB Pritzker defeats Darren Bailey, wins 2nd term as Illinois governor
Illinois Governor. JB Pritzker easily fought off Republican challenger Darren Bailey to win a second term in office

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/

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 roomful of supporters, 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/

The Pritzker campaign released a statement, saying in part, "Governor Pritzker and Lt. Governor Stratton are beyond grateful to each and every voter who turned out this year for trusting them with a second term to build on their progress. When Governor Pritzker and Lt. Governor Stratton were elected four years ago, they promised to put Springfield back on the side of working families, and tonight's results prove Illinoisans are looking to the future with hope and optimism."

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.

Bailey greeted a cheering but relatively subdued crowd of several hundred supporters who had waited hours to see him. The election night party did not announce that Pritzker had won the race, did not show his speech, and did not play national election results.

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.

He reiterated those same pillars in his speech.

"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.

Gov. Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker cast their ballots at their North Side polling place at the Chicago History Museum Tuesday morning. The governor had been at the Pulaski Orange Line stop shaking hands earlier Tuesday.

2022 ELECTION | Voter Information in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

"Well you wake up on Election Day and think, 'what more can I do?' I've got 12 hours. And so here we're making sure we shake hands with people on the way to work to remind them if they haven't voted yet now is the time," Pritzker said.

Bailey greeted commuters at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, hoping to garner enough last-minute votes to derail Pritzker's reelection plans.

"Many people had voted. They had their stickers on. They told us they voted for us. They're ready for change," Bailey said.

WATCH: Chicago election official discusses voter turnout

A Chicago election official discussed voter turnout Tuesday.

Bailey made his second and final stop of the day at a manufacturing plant in Palatine where he talked to workers and made one last pitch for votes. He was then headed to Springfield.

Republican challenger Darren Bailey made a last push for votes, cast his ballot, and then headed to Springfield where he will watch the election night returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.