FILE - Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Governor Budget

Gov. J.B. Pritzker defends his plan to offer election-year tax relief to consumers on groceries, gasoline and property in this Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 photo. Last year, with gas prices nearly as high as they are now, he dismissed those concerns in launching a tourism campaign to get people out on road trips. He says he's concerned about gas prices now because of 7% inflation that's pinching pocketbooks on a range of commodities.

(The Center Square) – With the primary election ballots set, and the election nine weeks away, Republicans looking to challenge Gov. J.B. Pritzker continued their criticism of the incumbent's policies.

Pritzker also faces a Democratic challenger.

The Illinois State Board of Elections on Thursday approved the statewide primary ballot after hearing a variety of objections. There are six Republicans looking to get the party’s nomination to take on Pritzker in November.

On crime, Jesse Sullivan said he hears from law enforcement continued concerns about the Democrats’ SAFE-T Act that includes, among other things, ending cash bail starting Jan. 1.

“Our law enforcement officers that are sacrificing themselves every day around our state deserve to be listened to and they do not feel appreciated under this current administration,” Sullivan told WMAY earlier in the week.

On COVID, Pritzker said Thursday he’s appealed rulings against his mandates because he needs to retain such authority in future pandemics. State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, called Pritzker a “tyrant” for more than two year’s worth of unilateral COVID-19 orders.

“And that’s exactly what has destroyed the economy, and life, our schools, our police force, that’s the attack that’s on Illinois,” Bailey said at a news conference Thursday.

Other Republicans on the June 28 primary ballot are Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, businessman Gary Rabine, and Max Solomon.

A main criticism Republicans have of the incumbent is crime. Pritzker Thursday said a lot of money is going out for violence intervention.

“That funding has been disbursed, there’s more coming as well and that is a very important way in which we are interrupting violence and dealing with the challenges,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker’s primary challenger Beverly Miles is a Chicago-area nurse and U.S. Army veteran. She said more money may not work.

“The prison system is growing, the legal systems are growing, the funeral homes are growing. Everybody is making money off of crime,” Miles said. “So, I truly do not believe the billionaires are really looking at combating crime.”

The party primary is June 28.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.