BETHALTO, Illinois — Richard Irvin thinks primary voters should know how his Republican opponents voted in past presidential elections. So much so, that his campaign has already spent big money highlighting their voting records in mail, radio and television advertisements.
But on the day early voting began in Illinois, the candidate seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor again repeatedly refused to say if he voted for Donald Trump.
Election records show that Irvin, the mayor of Aurora, voted in Democratic primary elections in 2016 and 2020. When it came time to elect a president, he claims he voted for a Republican. He just won't say which one.
Irvin briefly met with reporters at a campaign stop in Bethalto on Thursday morning. Thirteen times, Irvin dodged specific and direct questions about whether he voted for Trump. Twice, he dodged questions about whether he was a more conservative candidate than Darren Bailey.
Former Congressman John Shimkus described Irvin as "the most conservative Republican who can win," casting doubt on Bailey's electability in a general election.
As early voting is set to begin on Thursday, a recent poll conducted by Emerson College showed the Illinois primary race for governor is wide open with 36.9% of likely primary voters registering as "undecided."
Five of the six Republicans running for a chance to challenge Governor J.B. Pritzker in November participated in an open forum in Belleville on Saturday.
The GOP candidates focused on their stances against abortion, their opposition to controversial curriculum about race and sex in the classroom and their challenges to Pritzker's pandemic protocols.