May 10, 2022 - Politics

Illinois candidates already mudslinging in campaigns

Politician talking to crowd
State Sen. Darren Bailey, a GOP gubernatorial candidate, appears at the 2021 Republican Day in Springfield. Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

Early voting is open in Cook County for this year's June 28 primary. So today, we're launching our weekly roundup of campaign tidbits.

Why it matters: Campaigns are spending money, digging up dirt and slinging mud to gain advantage before election day.

Debates vs. forums

Debates are so last year. We aren't seeing many scheduled, with campaigns instead opting for forums, where candidates get a set amount of time to talk directly to voters in a more casual setting.

Upside: This style of campaigning has become en vogue because it can be done virtually.

Downside: They are littered with no-shows.

  • GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin has missed a couple. Democratic secretary of state candidates Alexi Giannoulias and Anna Valencia just skipped one in Chatham.

Of note: Irvin did hold a press conference yesterday, but it was his first time in front of reporters since announcing he was running in January.

  • His lack of media availability doesn't seem to be affecting the campaign — last week, Capitol Fax reported a poll in which Irvin was up 12 points over his closest challenger.
Mudslinging over masks

The discord between GOP gubernatorial candidates Irvin and Darren Bailey over masks has hit a fever pitch.

  • The Irvin campaign is calling out Bailey as a hypocrite for being anti-mask in public but making the staff on his farm wear them.
  • Bailey's response: "They're trying to say that I make my people at my farm wear masks. I mean, it's absolutely disgusting."
The week in campaign ads

The best: Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi compares property taxes to hot dogs. Too many free perks is like having too many onions.

The worst: The Democratic Governors Association ad calling Irvin "soft on crime" because he allegedly represented "child pornographers" as a defense attorney.

  • It's right from the "Willie Horton" playbook — manipulative at best and harsh at worst.
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