Darren Bailey says it's time for change in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District
Darren Bailey, the former Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate, is banking on his deeply conservative values and unwillingness to sacrifice them to propel him to victory against U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in the 12th District primary next month.
“As a Republican — and as a conservative Republican — I cannot compromise my values,” Bailey said on the Politically Speaking podcast.
Bailey, R-Xenia, believes it’s time for change in Washington, and he’s cast his opponent, a five-term congressman, as a political insider.
The 12th Congressional District spans the southern third of the state and includes parts of the Metro East like O’Fallon and Scott Air Force Base. Whoever wins the Republican primary will be highly favored in November in the conservative district.
While both candidates share numerous similarities in policy positions, Bailey, a Clay County farmer, believes Bost is not conservative enough. Bailey points to Bost’s membership in the U.S. House Main Street Caucus, a group of “pragmatic conservatives,” according to the group’s website.
“I love the work that the House Freedom Caucus is doing,” Bailey said, referring to a group of the most conservative GOP representatives.
Bailey said security on the U.S.-Mexico border would be his top issue if elected. Last week, Bailey visited the southern border.
“No. 1 priority is closing our border and making sure that we are secure with the millions of people who have come undocumented into our country,” he said.
A recent bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate, which tied border security to funding for Ukraine and Israel, did not pass the Senate and appears likely to do so in the House. Bailey said he wouldn’t have supported it because it addresses too much.
“I'm going to fight like crazy for single-issue bills,” he said.
Before discussing funding Ukraine’s defense against the Russian offensive, Bailey said Congress needs to act on the border.
Both Republicans are banking on their support of former President Donald Trump in this race, believing that will help them clinch the nomination. Bailey said he last spoke to Trump in December.
“Yes, we did talk about the endorsement,” Bailey said. “We are definitely on his radar.”
Bailey currently holds endorsements from fellow Illinois Republican Mary Miller and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, who will be campaigning for Bailey this week in Herrin, Illinois.
Illinois early voting has begun, and election day is March 19.
Bost’s appearance on Politically Speaking is scheduled to air Tuesday.