ROCK FALLS – Rain did not keep a crowd of about 50 people from showing up to support Darren Bailey, GOP candidate for governor, and sheriff’s candidate Mike Lewis, who visited Rock Falls Saturday to speak with voters, answers questions, and have a bite to eat.
Bailey, a farmer and conservative state senator from Louisville who’s been endorsed by Donald Trump, is running against Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.
Lewis, a former Whiteside County sheriff’s deputy and Tampico’s chief of police since January 2021, is running against Sheriff John Booker, also a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 general election.
“As a governor, I will be all over the state,” Bailey said.
“The entire state needs represented. Every now and then we pull out from Chicago and the collar counties. We’ve got to make sure that the rest of the state realizes that they are not forgotten and they will be represented by the next governor.”
Bailey discussed several of his key concerns, including the state economy, taxes, schools, and policing, at the newly opened Whiteside County Republican headquarters at 102 E. Rock Falls Road/U.S. Route 30.
“Our state is in trouble, and we have to do something about it. Our schools are being decimated and indoctrinated with ‘woke’ ideology. Our economy is being decimated. In Chicago’s police departments, there are over 1,700 unfilled positions,” Bailey said.
“We fix these things by electing good and honorable people into office and fixing the corruption.”
Bailey’s wife, Cindy, also spoke to a reporter.
“People are suffering from high taxes and regulations. As a public servant, you need to get to know your constituents so you can serve their needs. They want somebody who isn’t a political elite, and people can relate to Darren because we truly are just regular folks.”
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Bailey during a Save America rally in central Illinois held just three days before the June 20 primary.
Before joining the Senate, Bailey served one term in the state House, and before that, he spent 17 years on the North Clay school board, the last 12 as president. He and Cindy also founded Full Armor Christian Academy in Louisville.
He is against abortion, gun control and raising taxes, has called for term limits and said critical race theory is a problem in Illinois classrooms.
His supporters agreed that government corruption is a problem.
“We took this opportunity to meet and visit with him and let him know he’s got our support in Rock Island county,” Rock Island county precinct committeeman Larry Stowe said.
“Darren is an American first and he follows Judeo-Christian principles, so he’s a decent and honest man, and we need that. I don’t consider Pritzker to be an honest man. I believe he uses his money to buy influence.”
“I came here today because Bailey is for the farmers and we need the help. We need someone like Darren to bring the state back up,” generational farmer Lane Near said.
Lewis, of Rock Falls, also is director of Boots on the Ground, a nonprofit offering resources and programming to first responders.
He said a heavier police presence coupled with community involvement is essential to school and public safety.
“School safety is my top priority. We have mounted patrol officers. and I want them in every school. I want them there when the school opens and when the school closes at night,” Lewis said. “I’m going to put more boots on the ground with less money. You’re going to see more cars and more officers out on the streets than you’ve ever seen before.”
Lewis was a Whiteside County deputy for 17 years, serving with Booker. In March 2018, Lewis lost the GOP nomination for sheriff to then-Deputy Sgt. Kris Schmidt by fewer than 350 votes – 2,309 to 1,769. Schmidt lost to Booker.
Bailey and Lewis urged the crowd to get out, talk about politics, and encourage everyone to vote.
“This election is not an election, it’s a war right now,” Lewis said. “They want to take away your guns, they want to defund the police, and they want socialism. Everything I stand against.
“It’s simple. If you don’t get the vote, you don’t get the win.”