Illinois Republican primary for attorney general: Tom Devore against Steve Kim and David Shestokas

Crackdowns on crime, corruption and COVID-19 restrictions – with some unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud as a bonus.

The three men fighting for the Republican nomination for Illinois Attorney General have every major Conservative hot-button issue to hand while fighting back against Democrat Kwame Raoul, who is ending his first term as the state’s chief legal officer .

Prosecutor Tom DeVore made a name for himself fighting Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to contain the pandemic, launching a series of legal challenges to alleged “tyrannical orders,” most of which were unsuccessful until a Sangamon County judge early This year issued an order that provided for the nationwide dismantling of school masks.

Steve Kim, international business advocate in the northern suburbs, has received the nod from GOP primary voters in the past — in 2010 when he lost the general election to Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan — but this time he’s back with a promise curb crime in a state he calls “world famous” for corruption.

And Orland Park constitutional attorney David Shestokas, a former congressional candidate, is back on the campaign trail after arguing with Rudy Giuliani in 2020 with false claims that votes in Pennsylvania and beyond were improperly counted to prevent the former president Donald Trump wins a second term.

DeVore — who was repeatedly referred to as a “robber” by Pritzker during their legal battles — said he was inspired to first run for public office when he “saw a glimmer of hope and people standing up for what.” they believe,” as the controversial school mask order was issued in February.

“I’ve seen people resisting what I have called an assault by executive power,” DeVore told The Sun-Times. “Our people rely too much on electing politicians who can solve their problems instead of saying we all have to get involved.”

Pritzker’s office still maintains that the governor has the power to enact another mask mandate if the pandemic spirals out of control again.

DeVore, whose forearms are tattooed with the words “Liberty” and “Liberty,” said he would never have participated in the COVID response if Pritzker had called the General Assembly to approve business closures, capacity limitations and other restrictions — “even if they were exactly the same” as the governor’s executive orders.

Republican nominee for Illinois Attorney General Tom DeVore.

“People across the state feel let down. Raoul chose to defend the government, not the people of this state,” said DeVore, who lives in Sorento, about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Kim agreed with DeVore’s assessment of the pandemic guidelines, saying, “We need to move away from government regulation and towards personal responsibility.”

Shestokas dismissed Raoul as “the governor’s wingman. He made everything possible that we don’t like about JB Pritzker.”

Kim said he was moved to run after “walking into local watering holes, talking to ordinary people and getting a sense of dread” that Chicago crime was spreading to the suburbs.

“I’ve shot people near me and kidnapped them in their cars,” the Deerfield resident said. “The impact that crime has on daily life is real, along with the psychological impact.”

Kim said he would expand resources for local prosecutors to prosecute more cases – noting, “There is nothing in the law that says the attorney general cannot prosecute corrupt politicians.”

Republican nominee for Illinois Attorney General Steve Kim.

Republican nominee for Illinois Attorney General Steve Kim.

Kim says it’s a tactic Raoul and other Democratic leaders have neglected because “in Illinois, we’re still world-famous for corruption, even with [former Illinois House Speaker] Michael Madigan indicted.”

“I’ve seen firsthand what corruption does,” Kim said, referring to his legal work in Baghdad. “Corruption is so widespread that you don’t see any economic development because Western organizations don’t invest. That takes place here.”

Kim is running alongside a slate of establishment party GOP candidates recruited by political agents linked to former Governor Bruce Rauner and backed by the deep pockets of hedge fund titan and conservative mega-donor Ken Griffin .

More than half a million of Griffin’s dollars will go to Kim’s campaign fund, dwarfing the roughly $34,000 DeVore has raised so far. Shestokas has not reported any campaign contributions.

Kim described his list as “outsiders who have the best background and experience to really tackle the big issues.”

DeVore said the so-called “Griffin Slate” contestants were “trying to buy name recognition because their actions didn’t win people’s respect.” But the prosecutor, who lives in Sorento, about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis, agreed with Kim’s take on Illinois corruption and said he has assembled a task force dedicated to the issue.

Shestokas also hammered Dems into crime and promoted his slogan: “Make crime illegal again”.

“We’re going to prosecute these crimes that the locals don’t do,” Shestokas said, echoing criticism of Cook County Prosecutor Kim Foxx.

The southwest suburban attorney, who was part of Trump’s Pennsylvania legal team, also said he will urge the Illinois State Board of Elections to produce data proving they “keep the electoral rolls clean.”

Orland Park State Attorney David Shestokas, left, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, dispute election results in November 2020 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Orland Park State Attorney David Shestokas, left, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, dispute the November 2020 election results in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Shestokas paused to say the 2020 election had been rigged against Trump, instead complaining that “far too many people were interested in getting it done quickly.”

“I can’t say if Mr. Biden won, I can’t say if Mr. Trump won. … We have not done what is necessary to solidify [results] and get it right,” said Shestokas. He’s more explicit on his website, which claims “electoral fraud schemes in Illinois.”

Election officials in Illinois and beyond have claimed that there were no widespread irregularities in the 2020 ballot counts anywhere in the country and that Biden won decisively.

DeVore called the Shestokas’ claims “dangerous,” but didn’t completely close the door on the misguided allegations of voter fraud being perpetuated by Trump.

“I’ve never seen evidence of cheating. Someone would have to show me the facts to say it’s possible,” DeVore said.

Kim said, “Joe Biden is the President and I personally haven’t seen anything to suggest otherwise.”

A Sun-Times/WBEZ poll conducted last week suggests DeVore and Kim are dead heat despite the huge money gap. Of 677 likely primary voters, 20% said they would back DeVore, compared to 18% for Kim and 3% for Shestokas — but more than half were undecided. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The winner of the June 28 primary will face off against Raoul and libertarian Dan Robin in November.

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