Saturday, September 24

Trump could shake up Illinois politics this weekend

Rep. Mary Miller at the Illinois State Fair in 2021. Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Former President Trump is in Illinois this weekend to stump for downstate congressional candidates.

  • But all eyes are actually on his choice for governor.

Why it matters: Downstate state Sen. Darren Bailey is seeking Trump’s endorsement to help defeat Ken Griffin-backed opponent Richard Irvin in the GOP primary.

Between the lines: Trump’s endorsement means a lot for most conservative Republicans across the country.

  • But Illinois Republicans have skewed moderate in the last few years, including elected officials like Rep. Adam Kinzinger, former Sen. Mark Kirk and former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

State of play: Bailey has surged ahead of Irvin in recent polls, but that still hasn’t swayed Trump to jump in.

  • That could mean he isn’t sure that Bailey, even with a primary victory, could beat Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker in November.

Yes, but: Bailey will be at Saturday’s rally in downstate Mendon, a signal an endorsement could happen.

The intrigue: Trump is expected to speak in support of Rep. Mary Miller, a first-term conservative who was redistricted into a primary matchup against conservative Rep. Rodney Davis.

  • Davis was denied Trump’s endorsement despite co-chairing the former president’s state reelection campaign in 2020.
  • Davis still uses photos of Trump in mailers and on his website.

Flashback: Miller notoriously said at a rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection, “Hitler was right on one thing…”

What’s next: The primary is Tuesday.

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