Amid FOP endorsements, Bailey blames crime on Pritzker, who calls him a 'hypocrite'
Governor calls opponent a 'hypocrite'
Buoyed by endorsements from two major police unions, Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey pledged Monday to cut crime with measures such as instituting a statewide prosecutor.
The Xenia state senator zeroed in on Democrats Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, calling them "the three musketeers of crime."
"As shootouts and mayhem terrorize the city, the trio have more than turned their backs against police officers; they have actively attacked them," Bailey said at a news conference at the Fraternal Office of Police Lodge 7 offices in Chicago.
After supporting Pritzker in 2018, the Illinois FOP, representing over 34,000 members, backs Bailey. FOP Lodge 7, with about 17,000 Chicago officers, endorsed Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in the June 28 primary but now aligns with Bailey.
"We thought Richard Irvin had the best chance to beat Pritzker," Lodge 7 President John Catanzara said. "Darren Bailey proved us all wrong."
Pritzker rebutted the criticisms while at an event with Lightfoot in Chicago. Bailey voted against expanding the Illinois State Police forensic science program and new crime labs, the governor said.
"He also voted against saving police pensions -- billions of dollars -- by voting against police pension consolidation. That's something I proposed and got passed," Pritzker said. "I think voters have seen that Darren Bailey is a hypocrite."
Bailey also piled on Foxx, who has been under fire for staff turnover and issues including her handling of the felony case against actor Jussie Smollett and others.
"If lax prosecutors like Kim Foxx don't want to prosecute violent offenders, that won't be an option when I'm governor," Bailey said.
"My first order of business will be to file legislation allowing residents to recall Kim Foxx. We will create an office of statewide prosecutor under the state attorney general's office with the power to prosecute crime ... if prosecutors like Kim Foxx refuse to do their jobs."
Foxx's office declined to comment.
One target for Republicans in the Nov. 8 election is the SAFE-T Act, supported by Pritkzer. It ends cash bail in 2023, expands body camera use and revises use-of-force standards, among other changes that will level the playing field for minorities charged with crimes, Democrats contend.
Bailey said that "with crime and anti-police rhetoric skyrocketing, thousands of police officers are leaving the force. Those that remain are overworked and stretched impossibly thin.
"When I'm governor, this is how we're going to turn a city in crisis into the world-class, safe and prosperous city it should be. We will repeal the SAFE-T Act because we must. We will reinstate cash bail everywhere."
He did not take media questions.
Illinois FOP President Chris Southwood said Bailey "supports public safety, law enforcement and sanity, three things that are definitely not priorities for the current administration."
Meanwhile, Lightfoot noted that Bailey had sponsored legislation in 2019 to split Illinois into Chicago and the rest of the state. "Does that tell you that's a guy that wants to lead this great state? No," she said.