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Anti-LGBTQ state senator announces run for Illinois governor

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State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) announced he would run for Illinois Governor in 2022 on Monday night.

The Effingham Daily News reported on Monday that Bailey had been teasing an announcement for a week and had planned a tour through southern Illinois cities.

Bailey these days is known for his vocal opposition to COVID-19 mitigation measures put in place by Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. As a state representative, he sued the governor for overreach last year and was even ejected from a state House session for refusing to wear a mask. He’s been a longtime critic of the governor, also opposing the new criminal justice reform law and other bills supported by Pritzker.

Bailey has also been a vocal opponent of LGBTQ-supportive bills in the General Assembly, including the Inclusive Curriculum Bill and a transgender-supportive state Medicaid policy.

He voted against the curriculum bill and wrote an op-ed saying that parents should be able to “opt” their children out of history classes that included LGBTQ historical figures. The op-ed was reprinted in several newspapers in southeastern Illinois.

Bailey was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018 on a very conservative platform. He was endorsed by Illinois Right to Life, Illinois Family Institute and Illinois Family Action. He won election to the 55th District in 2020.

Among those joining Bailey for the announcement were U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland) and her husband State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland), and State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), who had also been vocal about both the curriculum bill and the Medicaid policy.

Among those joining Bailey for the announcement were U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland) and her husband State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland), State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), who had also been vocal about the curriculum bill, and State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich). There were no masks or social distancing visible in the livestreamed announcement.

Also running for the GOP nomination are businessman Gary Rabine from the Chicago area and former State Sen. Paul Schimpf from Metro East. Of the three, Bailey has the best statewide name recognition.

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