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Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin joins Illinois gubernatorial race

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said he is running for governor of Illinois on Monday as a Republican to challenge incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Irvin, who is the first Black mayor of Aurora, announced he was running in a video, stating State Rep. Avery Bourne, the youngest legislator in Illinois history, is his running mate for lieutenant governor.

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Including Irvine, five Republicans have announced they have thrown their names into Illinois' gubernatorial hat, including State Rep. Darren Bailey, businessman Gary Rabine, former State Sen. Paul Schimpf and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan.

On his campaign website, Irvin detailed his main three issues as curbing crime, lowering taxes and fighting corruption.

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"Crime is out of control. So is corruption. Negligence and incompetence have destroyed our finances, so taxes go up," he said in the campaign video.

The military veteran said he wants to build an Illinois where the economy builds ladders of opportunity, where families are safe and children are educated.

As a prosecutor, he said the notion of defunding the police is "dumb, dangerous and it costs lives."

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"I believe that all lives matter," he said in the highly produced video. "Every family should be safe."

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Following Irvin's announcement, Pritzker's campaign told ABC7: "The GOP primary field continues to grow but one thing stays the same: The people of Illinois do not want a repeat of the Bruce Rauner years of disastrous mismanagement and policies that set our state back."

Rauner was the governor from 2015 to 2019 when he lost re-election to Pritzker.

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Fellow Republican challengers also took the opportunity to chastise Irvin over pulling Democratic primary ballots over the years, with Bailey tweeting that he will be "very popular among the establishment and weak-kneed Republicans."

Rabine said he is interested to hear what caused Irvin to change party affiliation.

"Equally compelling will be your explanation on supporting sanctuary cities and your effusive praise for Gov. Pritzker," he said via Twitter. "But I guess that's what campaigns are all about."

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