Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin Enters GOP Governor’s Race As Expensive Campaign Season Looms | Chicago News

It’s been nearly a year since candidates began announcing their intention to run for governor of Illinois, but on Monday a new entrant shook up the race.

Mayor of Aurora Richard Irvin said he was running as a Republican in an online video.

“I grew up in public housing in section eight in Aurora, where I’m now mayor. Mom had me when I was 16. A single mom who worked two jobs. I didn’t really have a dad, but my grandfather son of Richard Baxter Irvin taught me to believe in myself, to do my best in whatever I did, as he did as a skilled craftsman in the factories after the war II,” Irvin says in the video. “I joined the military, like him. Served in Desert Storm, developed the discipline to complete a mission.

Irvin, the great-grandson of a slave, became a lawyer and prosecutor. In 2017, he became the first black mayor of Illinois’ second-largest city.

As his Martin Luther King Jr. Day campaign ad points out, if he wins the primary, Irvin would be the first black candidate for governor of either major Illinois party.

Irvin was not made available to reporters and a campaign spokesperson said he would be doing interviews soon.

Despite the silent deployment, Irvin is attracting a lot of attention, in part because he seems likely to get financial backing from Illinois’ wealthiest man, Ken Griffin, founder of the Citadel hedge fund.

“Unlike the current governor who was born into wealth and has demonstrated little urgency or progress in improving our state, Richard Irvin’s life embodies the American dream and a true commitment to building stronger communities,” Griffin said in a statement. “From humble beginnings, he put himself through college with the help of the GI Bill and chose to enter public service to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Griffin helped fund the successful effort against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s move to move Illinois to a progressive income tax system. At an Economic Club of Chicago event last October, Griffin came out strong against the Pritzker mandate.

“It’s a shame our governor doesn’t fit into the challenge of fighting crime in our city. It’s a shame,” Griffin said. the plank because we have a government in our state that continually puts votes in front of people, votes in front of lives, votes in front of schools and we need to start taking back our state bit by bit from people who put their politics first and put our people second.

Griffin’s statement does not explicitly say he will fund Irvin’s run. Other GOP candidates vying for the nomination are State Senator Darren Bailey, businessman Gary Rabine, former State Senator and ex-Marine Paul Schimpf and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan.

Griffin isn’t the only one likely to open his wallet. In fact, Pritzker has already done this.

Four years ago, Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt fortune, splashed out $170 million of his money to win his first elected term. He has so far invested more than $130 million in his campaign fund for this election cycle, including $90 million on Friday.

“The core area of ​​the GOP continues to grow, but one thing remains the same: the people of Illinois do not want a repeat of the years of Bruce Rauner’s mismanagement and disastrous policies that set our state back.” a Pritzker spokesperson said in a statement. “The governor is focused on continuing to lead Illinois in these difficult times, building on its record of paying our bills on time and improving the state’s credit rating, investing in our roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure, and setting a national standard for climate action that will reduce energy costs and create jobs.

Other comments from Democrats and Republicans attack Irvin more directly, with criticism from labor unions and the abortion rights organization Personal PAC.

Some black lawmakers have also accused Irvin of co-opting Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

‘On a day dedicated to service, equality and protection for those on the margins of society, the Republican Party showed that its shallow opportunism does not take days off,’ the Black Presidents said. Illinois Legislative Caucus, Robert Peters, Sonya Harper and Kam Buckner.

Even before Irvin made his run official, the Democratic Governor’s Association released a video showing Irvin in his town hall ability complimenting Pritzker.

The Illinois Republican Party does not endorse primary candidates, but in a statement President Don Tracy proclaimed Irvin a full member.

“Mayor Richard Irvin is a Republican, and I welcome any Republican who wants to join our already stellar group of GOP gubernatorial candidates,” Tracy said in the statement. “I urge all Republicans to adopt Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment and focus their fire on Governor JB Pritzker. Don’t be distracted by the lies of the Democratic Governors Association, Pritzker and their allies who may try to influence the GOP primary. I’m confident we’ll have a primary that’s bustling with ideas, backgrounds, and plans for the future, that GOP primary voters will pick the best candidate to defeat Pritzker, and that after the primary, Republicans will will unite around our candidate.

Republicans are struggling to gain a foothold in Illinois state politics, especially after former Gov. Bruce Rauner lost to Pritzker four years ago.

There are also tensions between the right and moderate wings of the party, and leaders of the latter camp fear that if a conservative emerges from the primary they will be beaten by Pritzker in the general election.

Former House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego serves as Irvin’s campaign co-chair. He said Irvin has a crossover appeal that will appeal to Republicans and a wider audience.

“If you want to talk about the economy, you want to talk about taxes, you want to talk about balanced budgets, that’s a column that’s going to be strong for Richard. If you want to talk about crime, it’s going to be a very, very strong column. for Richard,” Cross said. “I think he is, along with his running mate (State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville), they’re right about the issues and I would say the start of revitalization and the resurgence of this party.”

Irvin appears to be running at the top of a slate with other Republicans vying for a statewide post, with attorney Steve Kim running for attorney general, the former U.S. attorney from the center of Illinois John Milhiser as Secretary of State, State Representative Tom Demmer as Treasurer, and McHenry. County Auditor Shannon Teresi for Comptroller.

There is a GOP contest for the nomination of Secretary of State, with State Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington also running.

It’s an open seat given that longtime incumbent Jesse White, a Democrat, is no longer running. This led to a battle for the Democratic nomination between former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Ald. David Moore (17and Ward) and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @amandavinicky

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