Home Local Republican Darren Bailey’s first TV ad of general election campaign focuses on crime

Republican Darren Bailey’s first TV ad of general election campaign focuses on crime

by staff

SPRINGFIELD — Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for governor, this week plans to air his first broadcast TV ads of the general election campaign, releasing a commercial aiming to underscore the state senator’s criticism that incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is responsible for rising crime in Chicago and Illinois.

While other TV ads critical of Pritzker have been airing since Bailey won the six-man GOP primary race, those ads were paid for by a political action committee aligned with Bailey’s campaign. The new TV ad is the first to be broadcast and paid for by Bailey’s campaign.


The ad buy for the 30-second spot totals $534,000, campaign spokesman Joe DeBose said, and will include being broadcast in the expensive Chicago-area TV market. DeBose said the ad is slated to debut Wednesday or Thursday.

The purchase of airtime by Bailey pales in comparison with the millions of dollars Pritzker’s campaign has spent on his campaign TV ads.


While Pritzker has so far funded his campaign to the tune of $152 million since winning the governor’s office in 2018, Illinois State Board of Elections records show Bailey, his farming business and members of his family have contributed more than $1.5 million into the state senator from Xenia’s campaign for governor since he announced his candidacy in February of last year.

On Friday, Bailey’s mother contributed $700,000 to her son’s campaign, bringing to more than $1 million the total Norma Jean Bailey has given to the campaign, state records show.

Bailey used the release of the commercial as a fundraising pitch to supporters, asking via text: “Will you consider chipping in $50 or $15 to put this ad on TV? Right now, J.B. is dominating the airwaves and we need to get our message out.”

Overall, state records show, Bailey has raised nearly $14 million since announcing his candidacy, but of that total he has raised only $2.7 million since winning the GOP nomination on June 28. Bailey has in total received $10 million from Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein, but only $1 million of that has come since Bailey won the primary. Uihlein also is funding the aligned political action committee, People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which is run by Dan Proft, the Florida-based GOP political operative and radio personality.

Bailey’s commercial shows several video snippets of crimes, such as theft and arson, being committed. It begins with the sound of a blaring alarm and a disclaimer that the scenes are “graphic and not suitable for children.” It then ticks off what appear to be multiyear crime statistics from the Chicago Police Department for murders, shootings, sexual assaults, robberies and batteries that crawl across the bottom of the screen.

“Under J.B. Pritzker and (Chicago Mayor) Lori Lightfoot, crime is out of control,” Bailey says in the ad.

Through Sunday, Chicago has seen double-digit percentage reductions in shootings and homicides — 20% and 18%, respectively — over last year. But since 2019, when Pritzker and Lightfoot’s terms began, homicides and shootings in the city were each up by at least 30%, according to official Chicago police statistics. In that period, Chicago and other large U.S. cities saw increases in gun violence and other crimes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of the police-custody murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Also in the commercial, Bailey states that, as governor, he would “end Pritzker’s no-cash bail policy that’s putting violent criminals back on our streets,” implying a measure in the SAFE-T Act that passed last year was already in effect — when, in fact, the no-cash bail policy doesn’t become law until Jan. 1, 2023.


Rick Pearson reported from Chicago.



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