ST. LOUIS — The campaign for Darren Bailey, the GOP nominee for Illinois governor, is once again publicly distancing itself from a suspect charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol after new video emerged showing the man campaigning alongside a paid Bailey campaign staffer.
So far, the FBI has charged 28 people from Illinois for alleged crimes at the Capitol on Jan. 6. One of them is Lawrence Ligas, who was charged last December with three criminal counts for storming the Capitol. Ligas has signaled he intends to face the charges at trial. He's scheduled to appear in court again next month.
When the news of Ligas' arrest first broke, Bailey's campaign distanced themselves from Ligas and said he wasn't on their campaign payroll. However, in a Facebook post last fall, the state senator described Ligas as he and his wife's personal tour guide and "our good friend."
In May of this year, Ligas re-emerged in a video alongside a Bailey campaign aide. Brett Corrigan appeared together on camera with Ligas at an early voting event in Aurora. Corrigan told a local reporter, "We're representing Darren Bailey, the candidate for governor."
Bailey's campaign lists Corrigan's name in campaign finance documents under the category "staff salaries." On Tuesday, Bailey campaign officials downplayed Corrigan's role in the campaign, describing him as a 17-year-old paid intern who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign.
Still, if Bailey intended to put distance between his campaign and Ligas, it's clear Ligas never got the message.
"I believe in Darren Bailey so strongly that I'm out here trying to wake up the people that don't get it," Ligas said into the camera.
"He does not represent the campaign and anyone who breaks the law should be held accountable for their actions," DeBose reiterated on Tuesday.
Ligas is not the only avid Darren Bailey supporter who was seen at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
5 On Your Side has also confirmed the identities of an Illinois couple seen in a video outside the Capitol on January 6th. Because they're private citizens, not listed on campaign payroll, and have not been charged with a crime, we are not publishing their identities. But the comments they broadcasted on Jan. 6 reveal how strongly they felt when the crowd of rioters learned Mike Pence certified the election results:
"Do your (expletive) job or swing!" the man shouted, an apparent reference to the common chant from Trump supporters on that day, "Hang Mike Pence."
"My husband's a little upset," his wife chimed in, "so we're going to go down to the Capitol building and see what's going on there."
"Darren does not condone this kind of language," the Bailey campaign responded.
Does Bailey believe Mike Pence did the right thing on Jan. 6?
"Mike Pence followed the constitutional process," DeBose said. "Joe Biden is the duly elected president, and he and JB Pritzker are failing Illinoisans."
Those comments may represent the most definitive statement from Bailey's campaign to date about the outcome of the 2020 election, and could be another sign Republicans fear litigating the last election might interfere with their designs to win a statewide race in 2022 in a state where Joe Biden won handily.
At the same time, Bailey's campaign is also enlisting the help of a "Stop the Steal" activist to contact supporters with concerns about "election integrity."
Bailey has appeared in public photos with the woman alongside David Paul Blumenshine, a Central Illinois radio host, who organized a "Stop the Steal" bus tour to take protesters to Washington, D.C. on January 6th.
Blumenshine did not respond to questions about his role in the campaign or the January 6 event. Bailey's campaign said Blumenshine's 'Stop the Steal' bus tour never went all the way up to the Capitol Building that day.
"Anyone who went to Washington, D.C., that day did so on their own," Bailey's campaign spokesman Joe DeBose said. "It was not a campaign activity."
Bailey named Blumenshine a "regional director" for the campaign. Emails reviewed by 5 On Your Side show Blumenshine and his wife contacted Bailey supporters to sign up election judges and poll-watchers for the campaign's election integrity team.
"These emails are recruiting volunteers for Election Day," DeBose said.
Recruiting election judges is often a routine part of regular campaign and party building, but tapping an activist who protested the election results to oversee their poll-watching operation sends a message of its own.