Illinois governor election could pit Gov. Pritzker against Darren Bailey, who criticized COVID-19-related executive orders

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey, who has been highly critical of Gov. JB Pritzker's executive orders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said he's running for governor next year.

Bailey, R-Xenia, said in a news release Monday he is a southern Illinois farmer who plans "to reform a state that has been broken and abandoned by career politicians who have lost touch with the needs of hardworking Illinoisans."

"Illinois is in trouble. We have a massive deficit, some of the highest tax burdens in the entire nation, and skyrocketing unemployment," he said. "Add to that career politicians who have used a pandemic to destroy our local economy."

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Gov. Pritzker is accused of violating a ruling, saying he does not have the authority to extend Illinois' emergency order due to the coronavirus beyond 30 days.

He was elected to the state legislature in 2018.

In May of 2020, Bailey was escorted from the House floor for not wearing a mask, which was mandatory under House and Senate rules established because of the pandemic.

Bailey also sued Pritzker last year, claiming his emergency powers with regard to COVID-19 had only limited power and violated his civil rights.

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At the time, Pritzker's office called the suit a "political sideshow."

Republican Paul Schimpf also announced his candidacy for governor Feb. 15.

The Republican primary election for Illinois governor will be held on March 15, 2022.
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