FIRST ON FOX — Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is launching his bid for Congress in Illinois’ 12th District against five-term Republican incumbent Mike Bost, R-Ill.

“It’s time for a change,” Bailey told Fox News Digital. “We need more people to stand up and stop the compromise that’s destroying our values.”

Bailey says he can beat Bost through a “grassroots movement” he built during his 2022 gubernatorial bid, which he lost to Democrat JB Pritzker.  The southern Illinois farmer also calls Bost “a career politician” who caves to “the left-wing agenda.”

“This is not a career,” said Bailey. “I’ve been out there working and fighting against the adversity and the failures of career politicians, and I’m tired of it.”

State Sen. Darren Bailey, a Republican gubernatorial challenger, gestures during a debate with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

ILLINOIS DEMOCRATIC GOV. JB PRITZKER RE-ELECTED, DEFEATS REPUBLICAN DARREN BAILEY

Bailey and Bost have both been endorsed by former President Donald Trump in their previous political campaigns. However, Bailey says he will be working hard to get Trump’s endorsement in the primary. 

“I’m in communication [with Trump]. I’ve had conversations with him in the last several months, and my goal is to prove that I am the fighter,” said Bailey.

Bailey also said Trump asked him if Mike Bost was “a good guy” a year ago. 

“I said, here’s the deal. He was a congressman the entire time that you were president. And the fact that you don’t know if he’s the good guy or not, that should say a lot,” said Bailey.

Donald Trump Illinois

Illinois gubernatorial hopeful Darren Bailey greets Donald Trump after receiving an endorsement during a Save America Rally with the former president at the Adams County Fairgrounds June 25, 2022, in Mendon, Ill. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

However, the former president did say Bost was a “proud ally” and “terrific representative” in his 2022 endorsement. Bost won the seat by 50 points.

“[Bost] knows there’s a threat, and he’s certainly become more conservative in the last year than he has ever been,” said Bailey. 

Trump won Illinois’ 12th District in 2020 with 56% of the vote. 

Mike Bost

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol Dec. 6, 2022.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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The southern Illinois farmer also says he is no stranger to being outspent by his opponents after facing off against JB Pritzker’s $152 million re-election bid.

“I do not anticipate that I’m going to match, by any means, dollar for dollar, but no one outworked me,” said Bailey. “I spent all my life being a farmer, getting up early, putting the work in. And I will do that.”

The primary election for Illinois’s 12th Congressional District is March 19, 2024.

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