GOP candidates for governor see ‘hope for Illinois’ in expected Roe v. Wade ruling

Most Republican candidates for Illinois governor on Tuesday applauded the seemingly inevitable abolition of federally protected abortion rights — though the state’s silence on the choice of the state’s establishment underlined the challenge of suing conservative voters in the primary and more moderate voters in November.

A leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court decision — suggesting that Roe v. Wade’s decision be quashed this year — gained full support from those further right on the spectrum of the state’s GOP governors.

“The flag looks different after this ruling — it shines even brighter,” Petersburg venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan said in a statement, calling the primary “a matter of life and death,” with the state destined to “change the capital.” of becoming the abortion destination of the Midwest.”

“As a state and country, we must do everything we can to protect the rights of the unborn,” said Bull Valley entrepreneur Gary Rabine.

Republican venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, left, in October;  Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, right, last year.

Republican venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, left, in October; Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, right, last year.

Mitchell Armentrout; Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

“I absolutely love this – hope for Chicago, hope for Illinois and hope for this great nation,” Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, said at a news conference in the city along with local anti-abortion activists.

But Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin — who has the backing of Illinois’ richest man Ken Griffin — declined to comment through his campaign, saying he would not intervene until a final ruling is made. Earlier this year, Irvin told FOX 32 Chicago that he was “pro-life,” with the caveat that “there are always exceptions: rape, incest, the mother’s life.”

Former state senator Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, has made no statement about the leaked decision, but has previously said in media interviews and campaign statements that he is staunchly against abortion.

The array of reactions, and lack thereof, came about as anti-abortion activists across the state celebrated the looming decision that promises to block a woman’s right to opt out of pregnancy in more than half the country — and they suggested that the idea of ​​abolishing abortion rights in plain blue Illinois may not be as far-fetched as it may seem.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, left, in 2019;  Former state Sen.  Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, right.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, left, in 2019; Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, right.

Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald File; facebook

Ralph Rivera, lobbyist for Illinois Right to Life Action, cited a bill signed last year by Governor JB Pritzker that would repeal the parental notification requirement in the case of minors undergoing abortion — a measure the Illinois House would pass with just two voted to save.

“We voted very close to this, so we’re not that far away. I think it’s feasible,” Rivera said at the anti-abortion press conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in the South Loop.

“We’re hopeful that we can see more people willing to at least come up with these common sense things of parental notification, not paying for taxpayer funded abortion, and putting in certain safeguards for the mother and child.”

Bailey, who is supported by major Illinois anti-abortion groups, acknowledged that restrictive legislation is unlikely to be moved through Springfield, saying he understands “what we can and cannot achieve with the Democrats who currently have the vast majority. .”

Republican governor candidate Darren Bailey listens to a news conference Tuesday about the draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

Republican governor candidate Darren Bailey listens to a news conference Tuesday about the draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun Times

“But I will always stand up to promote policies that support women and protect life,” he said.

The downstate senator, backed by far-right businessman Richard Uihlein, has tried to position himself as the true conservative choice in the primaries, even meeting former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in a bid to get his approval. to get.

Irvin, widely regarded as the state party favorite, has taken the exact opposite strategy, tiptoeing around reporters’ questions about the former president — who remains wildly popular in much of the central and southern regions. of the state, but is thought to turn away some key suburban voters.

But while avoiding the Trump topic himself, Irvin has worked hard to portray Bailey as the one out of sync with the former president, hoping to water down a significant chunk of the state senator’s potential support.

Still, it’s Irvin’s reluctance to take positions on such conservative hot buttons that has drawn fire from his GOP rivals.

“Pro-Choice Fake Republican candidate Richard Irvin is in a really bad position today,” Rabine tweeted. “Pro-choice in a party that is overwhelmingly pro-life makes it hard for a man who wants to be the GOP governor’s nominee.”

Contributing: Tina Sfondeles

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