2022 Election Primary: Illinois Governor

Irvin gets backing from GOP establishment for gubernatorial run

State records show Irvin raised about $1.2 million in less than two weeks with checks of $250,000 coming in from wealthy Republicans

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin rolled out a list of familiar GOP names to serve as campaign advisers Wednesday, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin.

Meanwhile, state records show Irvin raised about $1.2 million in less than two weeks with checks of $250,000 coming in from wealthy Republicans.

Durkin and Cronin will join Irvin’s law enforcement advisory council that also includes DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin.

Irvin “hasn’t turned his back on police; he worked with police to reduce crime and increase public safety,” Berlin stated in a campaign release.

Other advisory council members are former Republican House Leader Tom Cross, former Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, former Cook County Judge Pat O’Brien, former DuPage County Chairman Bob Schillerstrom and former Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

Ziman said that Irvin, a former prosecutor, “reduced crime, hired more cops, and invested in prevention programs. It’s that common-sense approach that will make a difference in our communities and overall safety.”

Crime rates, however, have bounced around in Aurora since Irvin was elected in April 2017. According to FBI data, violent crimes in Aurora totaled 631 in 2016. That decreased to 521 in 2017, ticked up to 538 in 2018, dipped to 516 in 2019, and grew to 659 in 2020.

Crime prevention is also a priority for the other candidates in the June 28 Republican primary: state Sen. Darren Bailey of Louisville, businessman Gary Rabine of McHenry County, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Monroe County and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg.

Irvin, who announced his candidacy Jan. 17, received $250,000 donations from: Craig Duchossois, executive chairman of The Duchossois Group; the Mundelein-based MacLean-Fogg Co., whose CEO Barry MacLean is a GOP donor; Delaware-based Braveheart Investments; and James Frank of Winnetka, who has donated to Republican causes including defeating Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed income tax revamp in 2021.

Billionaire Sam Zell of Chicago and former gubernatorial hopeful Ron Gidwitz separately contributed $100,000. All donations were received between Jan. 14 and Monday, according to an Illinois State Board of Elections filing.