By KEVIN BESSLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — A new poll of voters in the Republican race for Illinois governor shows a new leader.
A survey by Fabrizio, Lee and Associates, which was commissioned by the political action committee People Who Play by the Rules, shows Darren Bailey at 27% support to Richard Irvin’s 20%. The PAC is headed by conservative talk show host Dan Proft, a Bailey supporter.
It looks like a two-horse race for the GOP nomination. Trailing in the latest poll are Jesse Sullivan at 13%, Gary Rabine with 12% and Paul Schimpf at 3%. Twenty-four percent said they were still undecided.
A WGN-TV/The Hill/Emerson College survey in May showed Mr. Irvin in the lead with 24% support, followed by Mr. Bailey with 20%. At that time, a whopping 37% of respondents said they were still undecided about the top of the ticket.
Asked the most important issue facing Illinois, voters overwhelmingly chose the economy with crime a distant second.
A deciding factor in the race could be the division of support among voters in urban and rural parts of Illinois. In early polls, Mr. Irvin held a big lead over Mr. Bailey in urban/city areas.
Mr. Irvin and Mr. Bailey appear to have the most financial backing of all the GOP candidates.
Billionaire Ken Griffin has pumped $50 million into the Irvin campaign. Billionaire Dick Uihlein, a Republican donor for decades, has given $9 million to Bailey. He also is the main financial backer for People Who Play by the Rules PAC.
Attack ads targeting Mr. Irvin and Mr. Bailey from the Democratic Governors Association, which is financially-supported by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, have cost millions.
Former President Donald Trump remains a wild card in the race. He has made endorsements in GOP primaries across the country, but that hasn’t always turned into wins for every candidate. He has yet to weigh in on the GOP race for Illinois governor.
The gubernatorial primary in Illinois is June 28.