Illinois governor candidates Pritzker, Bailey debate

Elections 2022

(NewsNation) — Illinois gubernatorial candidates J.B. Pritzker, the incumbent Democrat, and Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey are set to debate at an event hosted by Nexstar Media Inc. Thursday.

This comes after their first, nontelevised debate of the general election campaign, where the two sparred over crime, gun control and abortion rights, The Chicago Tribune reported.

These are issues that have already dominated local and national campaigns for months.

According to the Tribune, Pritzker talked about his efforts to protect abortion rights, while slamming his opponent for opposing abortion except when a woman’s life is in danger.

But Bailey said Pritzker is “fear-mongering” on the issue, and insisted Illinois’ Democratic stronghold on its legislature means “nothing is changing” when it comes to abortion. He added that his focus would be on crime, business and education if elected governor.

Both candidates also disagreed on Illinois’ criminal justice package that has judges determine whether a person should be released based on a public safety evaluation, as opposed to posting cash bail, while awaiting trial. Illinois will be the first state in the U.S. to abolish cash bail.

Bailey said, per the Tribune, that the law is “problematic” and going to “wreak havoc” across the state. Pritzker, on the other hand, said Bailey wants to keep the current system where “murderers and rapists and domestic abusers can buy their way out of jail.”

Pritzker is favored in the race, though as the Associated Press reported, Bailey has been able to dramatically increase his statewide profile by heavily criticizing the governor’s coronavirus pandemic measures. Notably, the now-state senator refused to wear a mask during legislative sessions.

The debate is set for 7 p.m. CT Thursday on the Illinois State University campus in Normal. It is set to be an hour long and will air on local Nexstar television stations in Illinois.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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