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Fun food with a side of politics highlighted Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair

Fun food with a side of politics highlighted Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair
Fun food with a side of politics highlighted Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair 02:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When it comes to the state fair, you think of corndogs and butter cows.

But this year, Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey are in the spotlight.

CBS 2's Charlie De is in Springfield where amusement rides are mixing with politics. The final push to November is on and Wednesday is known as Governor's Day at the fair, a tradition that really is an opportunity for Democrats to strum up some excitement within the party.   

"We are eating our way through the fair," said visitor Kaytlin Jacoby.

Whether you are eating or riding your way through it, on Wednesday, state Democrats are trying to swing votes blue at the annual Governor's Day.

"The election is 82 days away. Are you ready for the fight?"

To a crowd of supporters, Governor JB Pritzker touted the Democratic party's unity and his accomplishments while in office, including the state's COVID-19 response.

"We made Illinois the leader in clean energy. We saved lives and livelihoods during the pandemic," Pritzker said.

For decades, politicians have used the Illinois State Fair to build excitement within their party and attract voters with no gimmicks off limits.

Pritzker brought out country star Chris Young. Former Governor Jim Thompson rode a slide with a puppy in his lap in 1978, just weeks before the election.

"I think we are going to win because people understand Democrats are delivering," Pritzker said.

And with about 80 days until the election-some voters already have made their choice.

"Everyone's got a great idea and everyone has a candidate, but I already saw the proof in JB, so if its not broken don't fix it," said Bernard Lyles, a Pritzker supporter from Calhoun County. 

But volunteers with Republican challenger Darren Bailey's campaign are looking ahead to GOP day at the fair on Thursday.

"I think the Illinois State Fair is an opportunity to change voters minds. That's why we are out here volunteering, because it's never too late," said Bailey supporter Danielle Pentecost.

Thursday, state GOP leaders will get their day at the fair a chance to try and build support for Darren Bailey and other Republicans on the November ticket.

From talking to a number of people at the fair, they say the fair to them is more about the fun and less about the politics.

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