CHICAGO (NEXSTAR) – As the candidates sparred over threats to democracy during Tuesday’s second and final governor’s debate, Governor J.B. Pritzker called Republican candidate Senator Darren Bailey a “threat to democracy.”

A poll conducted by WCIA/Emerson College/The Hill in September found that threats to democracy is the second most important issue to voters as they head to the polls to cast their votes for governor.

“He’s surrounded himself with January 6 insurrectionists, [he] sought out the number one January 6 insurrectionist, Donald Trump’s endorsement,” Pritzker said.

Trump has continued to falsely claim that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. 

“You can’t surround yourself with those people with election deniers and then say you’re going to uphold voting rights in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “He shouldn’t be led anywhere near the governor’s office.”

Dan Proft, a conservative radio host who owns the People who Play By The Rules PAC, responded to Pritzker’s assertion on Twitter. 

“How does anyone who considers himself a reasonable person take Pritzker or anyone who would make such a statement seriously?” he said.

Bailey said voters have lost confidence in elections. His campaign has signed up 2,500 people to serve as poll watchers on Election Day despite very few to no cases of voter fraud. 

“There’s constitutional positions called election judges and poll watchers. And we need to make sure that we put people in place so that we rebuild integrity into our election process and that we make sure that people show up to vote,” Bailey said.

During the debate, Bailey was asked if he would support Trump if he ran for president in 2024. He dodged the question, saying Trump hasn’t announced he will run. 

“Nobody’s announced their run for presidency yet, so I’ll tell you that when they announce,” Bailey said.

When asked if Democrats shouldn’t meddle in Republican races, Pritzker didn’t provide a direct response and said Bailey is too extreme for Illinois. 

The question stemmed from Pritzker’s donation to the Democratic Governors Association, which ran ads during the primary to prop up Bailey as the Republican candidate for governor.

“The fact is that the messages that were coming from the Democratic Governors Association were messages, saying that Darren Bailey is too conservative for Illinois,” Pritzker said. “I’ll tell you that now. He’s too conservative for Illinois. He is frankly, too extreme for Illinois. I think those messages were good to put out then, they’re good to put out now because they’re absolutely accurate.”

In response, Bailey said if re-elected governor, Pritzker will use his position to make a presidential bid in 2024.

During the first debate, Pritzker said he intends to serve his full term if re-elected and would support President Biden’s campaign in 2024.

Other topics at the debate that candidates discussed include education issues and crime.