Former Rauner challenger Ives backs Bailey for governor, taking jabs at primary rival Irvin: ‘Republican voters need to be warned’

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who ran against former Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary in 2018, endorsed Darren Bailey for “his courage and experience” and warned rivals Richard Irvin and Avery Bourne “cannot be trusted.”

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State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, wraps an arm around former state Rep. Jeanne Ives after she endorsed his campaign for governor at a news conference at an American Legion post in Palatine on Thursday.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, wraps an arm around former state Rep. Jeanne Ives after she endorsed his campaign for governor at a news conference at an American Legion post in Palatine on Thursday.

Blue Room Stream

SPRINGFIELD — Conservative firebrand Jeanne Ives endorsed Darren Bailey for governor on Thursday, arguing the state senator from southern Illinois is the only Republican in the crowded GOP primary with a history of standing up to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“I know the Republican candidates running for governor. There are good men running for this office on the Republican side,” the former state representative from Wheaton said. “But when leadership was demanded against a one-man government in Pritzker, there was only a one-man response in Darren Bailey.

“For his courage and experience, I wholeheartedly endorse Darren Bailey for governor.”

Bailey called boost to his campaign “an absolute honor” and “humbling.”

“For the first time ever in the fall of 2017, I started seeing this woman in the top row and then the back of the House breathing fire down everybody’s neck. I’m like, I want to be like that when I grow up,” he said, recalling watching Ives on livestreams of debate on the House floor prior to him becoming a legislator.

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives endorses Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey on Thursday.

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives endorses Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey on Thursday.

Blue Room Stream

Ives, who ran against former Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary in 2018, only mentioned one of Bailey’s four GOP rivals by name in her remarks at the news conference at an American Legion post in northwest suburban Palatine.

“Republican voters need to be warned. The same people who ran Rauner’s campaign backed by a billion-dollar checkbook are now running the Irvin-Bourne race backed by the same billion-dollar checkbook,” she said.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is running for governor with state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, as his running mate, received a $20 million donation from hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin last month. Griffin, who is worth an estimated $25 billion, according to Forbes, contributed over $36 million to Rauner’s campaigns.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, left, in 2019 ; Hedge Fund billionaire Ken Griffin, right, in 2018.

File Photos by Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald; Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Ives had blistering words for Irvin and Bourne, arguing they are more in step with Pritzker and former Democratic Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan than true conservatives on a host of issues.

“The truth is Richard Irvin and Avery Bourne just may be both Madigan and Pritzker’s favorite Republicans,” Ives said. “The Irvin-Bourne campaign cannot be trusted.”

The Irvin-Bourne campaign fired back with attacks of its own.

“It’s surprising she would endorse someone who raised property taxes 81 percent, voted for Obama and picked a Never Trumper as his running mate,” said Eleni Demertzis, an Irvin-Bourne campaign spokeswoman, referring to votes Bailey took as a local school board member and a 2008 Democratic Primary vote his campaign said he took to stop Hillary Clinton.

Bailey’s running mate, Stephanie Trussell, is a former WLS-AM 890 talk show host, who tweeted harsh criticism of Trump in 2016, but now says she came to support the former president “100%.”

In her remarks at the Palatine news conference, Ives made no mention of Republican candidate for governor Jesse Sullivan, whose running mate, Kathleen Murphy, is a longtime political ally of the Wheaton Republican.

When Ives ran for governor four years ago, Murphy served as the campaign’s director of communications. Ives and Murphy also co-founded Breakthrough Ideas, a political advocacy group.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan, left; Running mate Kathleen Murphy, right.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan, left; Running mate Kathleen Murphy, right.

Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times file; jessesullivan.com

On Thursday, Murphy said she was “grateful” for what she’d learned from Ives over the past 10 years, but said the former representative “has always been her own person.”

“We have different ideas about what constitutes an effective approach. I have seen firsthand Jesse Sullivan’s approach to building coalitions on the campaign trail, and I believe in him as an outsider to the political machine,” Murphy said in a statement.

“We are good conservatives who love competition. This is the beauty of the primary process — we can all back different candidates, and after June we’ll all unite behind the candidate who can defeat J.B. Pritzker. I am confident that will be Jesse.”

Ives made no mention of the other two Republicans vying to challenge Pritzker in November, Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine or former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo.

Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, left; Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine, right.

Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, left; Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine, right.

Facebook; Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

Ives did discuss the federal indictment of Madigan, saying it was turning this year “into what should be the most consequential year for Illinois in a half century.”

“This indictment should be just the start of ridding the state of the machine politicians who have fiscally and morally bankrupted the state,” she said.

Madigan, 79, was indicted Wednesday, charged witha racketeering conspiracy and using interstate facilities for bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion. The Southwest Side Democrat has denied being involved in any criminal activity.

State Sen. Darren Bailey speaks at a news conference in Palatine earlier this month.

State Sen. Darren Bailey speaks at a news conference in Palatine on Thursday.

Blue Room Stream

Madigan was already key target for Republicans, and Wednesday’s indictment only sharpened the bulls-eye on his back.

Bailey waved a copy on the 106-page indictment from the podium on Thursday at the American Legion post.

“I grow corn and soybeans and wheat but unfortunately, I think the biggest crop that’s growing in Illinois is corruption,” Bailey said.

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