SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Governor J.B. Pritzker said some of the Republicans running for a chance to challenge him in November are “hiding from the press.”
“I think at this point in the election four years ago, we had done… I don’t know, 30 to 40, forums, all the candidates,” Pritzker said in an interview on Capitol Connection. “You don’t see that in the Republican primary this time.”
Republican primary candidates Jesse Sullivan, Paul Schimpf, and Gary Rabine have each appeared on Capitol Connection for wide-ranging interviews, and their campaigns have been generally open and available to the press. In stark contrast, the campaigns for Darren Bailey and Richard Irvin have guarded them from reporters at public events, limited engagement with the press to specific topics of their choosing, and refused to make them available for interviews on multiple occasions, even when the candidates were in town and available to meet with supporters.
In one instance, on the day federal prosecutors indicted former House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Irvin campaign offered quick-hit Zoom interviews with the Aurora mayor, but limited the scope of the questions to Madigan’s indictment. The campaign wanted to show his face in news coverage criticizing Madigan, but wouldn’t expose him to any other scrutiny of his own record.
In another case, Bailey stormed out of a press conference when reporters started asking questions he didn’t like.
“I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to answer questions about their record, or they don’t have anything to say,” Pritzker said. “But I can say that I think it’s important to present yourself to the public to answer questions.”
The Irvin campaign says they invited reporters to a Saturday event in rural Erie, Illinois, about 45 minutes from TV stations in the Quad Cities near the state’s western border with Iowa.
Bailey held a press conference in Trump Tower to tout an endorsement from an anti-abortion group. He responded to eight questions from reporters, which ranged from abortion to crime and Coronavirus mandates, according to a video posted to his campaign’s social media pages.
“Democrats like Pritzker and Irvin say a lot of things that aren’t true,” Bailey’s spokesman Joe DeBose said. “That’s why Springfield is dysfunctional and working families are struggling. Darren has done several interviews this month and held a press conference in Chicago earlier this week.”