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Bailey picks former conservative radio host as 2022 running mate

Sen. Darren Bailey appears with his running mate, Stephanie Trussell.
Sen. Darren Bailey appears with his running mate, Stephanie Trussell.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 4:26 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) has chosen his running mate for the 2022 gubernatorial election. Former conservative radio talk show host Stephanie Trussell joined Bailey for the announcement Monday morning.

Trussell stood alongside Bailey for a kickoff event in her hometown of Lisle, in the Chicago suburbs. She shared many of Bailey’s core messages about people leaving Illinois for better opportunities, crime in Chicago, and high taxes.

Trussell argues those are real problems that Gov. JB Pritzker “can’t, hasn’t, and won’t fix.” She says Bailey is the right governor to restore Illinois.

“We need leadership who will fight to defend our police, not defund them,” Trussell said. “We need to get the woke left political agenda out of our classrooms for once and for all. It’s time to teach our kids to chase their dreams, not to be a victim or hate one another.”

She said Bailey’s team will demand a zero-based budget that freezes spending without raising taxes. If elected, Bailey and Trussell also intend to deliver tax cuts to Illinois families at the end of their second year in office.

However, the Democratic Party of Illinois quickly responded to the announcement Monday. The organization called Trussell’s views “bizarre” and “wildly out of touch.”

“The first lieutenant governor candidate announcement is in line with what we’d expect from this anti-choice, anti-science field of extremist, far-right candidates,” said DPI Executive Director Abby Witt. “Illinois Republicans want to overturn Roe, rip needed health care from hundreds of thousands of people, deny the science on COVID-19, and take us backwards.”

Trussell argues Springfield is broken and Bailey is the right solution. While previous tweets and on-air broadcasts show the candidate as an anti-Trump Republican, she hopes to gain support from most of the state’s GOP base. She says better days are ahead for Illinois, but only if conservative changes are made.

Republican Lt. Governor candidate Stephanie Trussell previously spoke against former President...
Republican Lt. Governor candidate Stephanie Trussell previously spoke against former President Donald Trump.(Mike Miletich)

“Pritzker is a failure. We can’t afford four more years of failure,” Trussell said. “It will kill this great state. Let’s put the days of slick politicians and rich elites who don’t understand our problems behind us.”

Meanwhile, Pritzker’s campaign team said Monday’s announcement should come as a surprise to no one.

“This field of radical, far right candidates couldn’t be further from what Illinoisans are looking for in a leader and the latest lieutenant governor pick is no exception,” said Communications Director Natalie Edelstein. “These out of touch candidates are clearly more concerned with overturning Roe v. Wade, slinging divisive and hateful rhetoric around, pledging their loyalty to Donald Trump, and finding new ways to take our state backwards.”

Edelstein stated Pritzker’s commitment to working families couldn’t stand in starker contrast to the Republican candidates.

Many reporters and political observers quickly pointed out Trussell’s stark difference in opinion about the former President. #NeverTrump or pro-Trump: Where does Trussell stand today?

Bailey Communications Director Joe DeBose said Trussell “supports Trump 100%.” Trussell explained many people had early concerns about the former president but later supported his campaign.

“I love this country, and I will continue to support the America First agenda that fights for working people, and I voted for President Trump in 2016 and campaigned and voted for him in 2020. I am a fighter and not someone who always toes the party line,” Trussell said. “But I support President Trump, and I will not apologize to the internet trolls or the left-wing media for who I am.”

Trussell also said growing up on the west side of Chicago, getting her first job as a teenager, and raising five kids made her the conservative she is today.

Bailey is the first Republican candidate for governor to announce a running mate. The Bailey team will drive across the state to meet supporters over the next few days.

The 2022 Illinois primary election will be held June 28.

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