Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan hopes to channel Glenn Youngkin and flip state crimson
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Jesse Sullivan prides himself on being a “true conservative” and argues he can flip a deep blue Illinois crimson in November together with his bid for governor.
At 38 years previous, he could be America’s youngest governor and among the many youngest governors in Illinois’ historical past. However he first has to win a heated combat for the Republican nomination on June 28. Then he’d need to face off towards incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who Sullivan insists is simply too busy already “working for president” forward of 2024.
Sullivan, the founding father of the enterprise capital agency Alter International, vows to be a change agent in Springfield and factors to the beautiful election of Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia as a roadmap to drag off an analogous victory within the Land of Lincoln.
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He is a self-described “outsider” who nonetheless has deep roots in central Illinois, at the moment residing on farmland rising corn and soybeans in his hometown of Petersburg together with his household. And on the marketing campaign path, he touts his enterprise background and his time abroad as an Military civilian to attraction to voters.
Throughout an interview this week with Fox Information Digital, Sullivan was requested in regards to the points dealing with Illinois, his political vulnerabilities and the way he sees a conservative Republican being elected in a liberal stronghold.
Amid ongoing inflation and issues of a recession, Sullivan’s financial plan to alleviate the monetary burden on Illinois residents contains lifting the state’s grocery tax and repealing Pritzker’s gasoline tax hike. He calls his ambition to get rid of the state’s earnings tax his “North Star,” hoping all of his monetary incentives will flip round Illinois’ dwindling inhabitants and forestall residents from fleeing his state.
“I am a enterprise man. I come from a enterprise background… These Democrats, particularly from Illinois, they wish to tax our manner out of our debt downside on this state. That is by no means going to work. Anybody who can flee this state is fleeing the state. 120,000 individuals left the state of Illinois alone final yr… I really feel we’d like a dedication to development,” Sullivan mentioned. “We have to look extra like Texas and Florida, not in New York and California.”
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Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made headlines earlier this month vowing to make Illinois a “protected haven” and an “oasis” for abortions within the Midwest after the leaked draft from the Supreme Courtroom signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Sullivan, who guarantees to be “essentially the most pro-life governor within the historical past of the state of Illinois,” accused the Democratic duo of being “the extremists on this problem” whereas he’s calling to have a good time “a tradition of life.”
“J.B. Pritzker, it is late-term, partial-birth abortions. It’s no parental notification for minors so 13- and 14-year-olds can come from across the nation to the state of Illinois, they do not even must notify their dad and mom that that is taking place… and guess who’s paying the invoice?” he requested. “The taxpayers of Illinois, already one of many highest tax states within the nation, and now we’ll be paying for abortions throughout the complete Midwest.”
Whereas he vowed to “push again” on late-term and partial-birth abortions, Sullivan refrained to supply an actual quantity when requested what number of weeks into the being pregnant ought to abortions be unlawful, citing the “supermajority of Democrats” within the state legislature that has already allowed Illinois to change into “essentially the most pro-abortion state within the nation.”
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One other “North Star” Sullivan pointed to is college alternative for Illinois dad and mom and unveiled a brand new coverage proposal this week that may give dad and mom a “Backpack Scholarship” to allow them to ship their little one to the college of their alternative. He additionally launched a “Mother and father’ Invoice of Rights,” impressed by Florida’s Parental Rights in Schooling legislation that may demand transparency in regards to the psychological and bodily well being of their youngsters.
Concerning the trans athlete debate over permitting organic males to compete in ladies’s sports activities, Sullivan insisted “boys shouldn’t be in ladies’ sports activities” however stopped in need of saying he’d take motion as governor on the problem.
Sullivan’s “Day One” guarantees by way of govt order could be eliminating any COVID-era masks and vaccine mandate to make Illinois a “state of freedom” once more. With regards to working with the Democrat-controlled state legislature, nonetheless, he expressed hope that collectively they will sort out excessive taxes, corruption, crime and the training system, however appeared pessimistic that a lot can in the end get accomplished. He’s placing extra religion in a powerful Republican turnout in November that might diminish the Democrats’ grip in Springfield.
“We have to get out of this supermajority of Democrats so I’ve veto energy. As a result of I’ll convey out a Sharpie as huge as Donald Trump’s and I will write ‘VETO,’ you realize… I refuse to boost taxes on the individuals of Illinois and I’ll veto any new tax that comes throughout my desk as a result of we do not have a income downside in Illinois, now we have a spending downside,” he mentioned.
Sullivan is optimistic that he can not less than work with Democrats to handle Illinois’ unfunded pension disaster.
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With regards to crime, which continues to plague Chicago, Sullivan vowed to repeal what he describes as Pritzker’s “anti-police” legislation that eradicated money bail and restricts the facility of legislation enforcement. He touted having essentially the most endorsements of lively sheriffs as a result of he is “defend and serve at my core.”
“We’re going to make households protected once more within the state of Illinois and we’ll push again towards the state prosecutors like Kim Fox, George Soros-funded prosecutors which might be mushy on crime, coddling criminals, treating them like they’re the victims,” Sullivan informed Fox Information Digital.
Sullivan tore into Pritzker for his inaction in quelling the violence that erupted in Chicago as a part of the nationwide unrest in 2020 following the homicide of George Floyd.
“J.B. Pritzker treats this case like Chicago is just not part of his jurisdiction. Chicago is part of the state of Illinois and if you’re governor, you step as much as do the job and he wouldn’t really surge the Nationwide Guard when it was wanted,” Sullivan asserted. “In the course of the riots, burning cop automobiles, creating all of the havoc that they did down on the Magnificent Mile, he cared extra about politics and the notion… I’d be surging within the Nationwide Guard to ensure we deal with it just like the disaster that it’s.”
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Sullivan argued that he’s the strongest GOP candidate to face off towards Pritzker as a result of he can “end up the conservative base” and “convey over these independents and disaffected Democrats.”
He took intention at his main rivals, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who he accused of being “manner too liberal for an Illinois Republican main,” and Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey, who he admitted is a “nice conservative” however pointed to considered one of his “first acts” in politics which was co-sponsoring a invoice that may “separate Chicago from downstate,” saying he can not earn key votes within the Windy Metropolis.
The Irvin marketing campaign has repeatedly attacked Sullivan for suggesting he has falsified his navy service since he was an Military civilian on behalf of the Division of Protection as an alternative of serving among the many rank and file, telling Fox Information Digital he labored as a Human Terrain Analyst for a seven-month tour in Afghanistan whose activity was to arrange native police forces all whereas sporting a U.S. Military uniform.
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“This was sacred service to me,” Sullivan mentioned. “Richard Irvin can attempt to take this and use it for political acquire and attempt to, you realize, take my good title and attempt to run it by way of the mud for his personal political functions, however the residents of Illinois will see proper by way of it.”
When requested if he would pledge to assist the eventual Republican nominee in a common election, Sullivan mentioned “we’ll cross that bridge once we come to it” however assured he wouldn’t assist Pritzker.
Sullivan has additionally been attacked by the Irvin marketing campaign for having voted for Barack Obama. When requested about his presidential voting report, Sullivan urged again in school, he fell for the “lie” that Democrats “cared most about individuals in poverty” and later realized it was conservative insurance policies that lifts households out of poverty. He pointed to the political evolutions of the “biggest conservatives” like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, saying they “lived their manner into their conservative values.”
When requested if he supported Obama in each 2008 and 2012, Sullivan sidestepped the query, saying, “I’ve not voted for a Democrat, you realize, in a decade.”
Throughout a gathering among the many GOP candidates with the Chicago Tribune editorial board on Tuesday, Sullivan was amongst those that mentioned they voted for Trump in 2020. However when Fox Information particularly requested Sullivan if he had supported Trump within the main and within the 2016 election, he didn’t supply a direct response.
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Whereas Sullivan did not get particular as to how lengthy he is supported Trump, he appeared to undertake the previous president’s America First agenda, hoping to channel it in Illinois as governor.
“For those who’re in search of Donald Trump’s America First insurance policies in Illinois, then I am your man,” Sullivan informed voters. “For those who evaluate Donald Trump’s to Joe Biden’s insurance policies whether or not it is legislation enforcement, or you realize, on inflation and the economic system or if it is pushing again on the border, you realize, pushing again towards the extremes of the far left, being pro-life and placing in judges, like, these are all of the America First values. I wish to make them Illinois First values.”
Sullivan mentioned he would welcome Trump’s endorsement however his marketing campaign’s focus is on incomes the assist of on a regular basis Illinois residents.
Sullivan is searching for to guarantee voters he won’t be a repeat of Bruce Rauner, a Republican who received the governorship in 2014 however was ousted in 2018 after one, stalemated time period in workplace.
“They’ve a really clear distinction between who Bruce Rauner was, who was a billionaire from Chicago, with a downstate man who grew up engaged on a farm… not all outsiders are created equal,” Sullivan mentioned.
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“I’ve an iron will rooted in my Christian religion. And that’s the manner that I’ll lead,” he added. “Individuals will be capable of belief that I will likely be an Abraham Lincoln conservative and Republican.”
Fox Information’ David Rutz contributed to this report.
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