Watch CBS News

Darren Bailey pledges Republican party unity at the Illinois State Fair

Darren Bailey says he'll unify the Illinois GOP ahead of the 2022 general election
Darren Bailey says he'll unify the Illinois GOP ahead of the 2022 general election 02:15

SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – It's the joy of the Illinois State Fair, mixed with a bit of politicking.

That was the scene in Springfield on Thursday for "Republican Day" at the fair. CBS 2's Charlie De Mar spent the day there.

Republicans took over the fair and party leaders recognized the challenges ahead of the election but are banking on a red wave come November.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey made a grand entrance at the State Fair's annual Republican Day, as he's trying to unify his party and rally support to become the next governor.

But Bailey's push for the state's top office has been filled with controversy.

He made comparisons between the Holocaust and abortion. On Thursday, he clarified his statement.

"Listen, the Holocaust is no doubt an atrocity beyond parallel," Bailey said.

The state senator has repeatedly called Chicago a "hell hole." Chicago is the hometown of his running mate Stephanie Trussell.

When asked if he felt like most Chicagoans felt like they live in a hell hole, Bailey said, "Actually I believe they do because it's unsafe but it's going to change. Chicagoans deserve better."

While unity was the buzz word of the day, some Republicans aren't ready to throw their full support behind Bailey as the state's next governor.

"I'm fully behind the fact that a Republican is on the ticket. That's who I'm behind. I haven't made any public endorsement," said Dan Brady, the Republican candidate for secretary of state.

When asked what he thought about those who are hesitant to throw their support behind Bailey, Don Tracy, the chair of the state Republican party, said "We just had the primary about a month ago but everybody's coming together as far as I can tell."

But Jesse Sullivan, who lost to Bailey in the primary is ready to put his defeat in the past.

"I think everyone's around Darren wholeheartedly, saying here is the last person who stands between JB Pritzker and four more years of ruining Illinois, so we're all on board behind Darren," Sullivan said.

"We will unify the party," Bailey said. "That doesn't bother me one bit."

Democrats had their day at the fair on Wednesday. Among the topics that came up on both days was women's access to abortion with differing answers on both days. It'll likely be an issue on top of mind for voters come November.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.