GOP attorney general contest too close to call

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Deerfield business attorney Steve Kim and Tom DeVore, who successfully challenged Gov. JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 mask mandate, were in a close battle Tuesday night for the Republican nomination for Illinois attorney general.

With 55% of the county reports, DeVore had about 43% of the vote, compared to about 35% for Kim.

The winner meets incumbent Democrat Kwame Raoul in November.

DeVore said Tuesday night he feels good about his odds and credits his message with “fighting for people when it’s not popular,” adding that “it’s something I’ve been doing all along “.

The race was tight despite Kim’s huge funding advantage thanks to contributions from Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin.

Kim was part of a Republican establishment list that included gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, who received $50 million from Griffin. Irvin, in turn, gave Kim $550,000 of that money, state records show.

Those contributions alone dwarfed DeVore’s campaign dollars of just over $59,000 – nearly half of which came from loans he made to his own political committee.

Another candidate, David Shestokas, an Orland Park attorney, was in third place late Tuesday with nearly 22% of the vote. Shestokas was part of former President Donald Trump’s legal team challenging the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

DeVore, who helped end Pritzker’s mask mandate, jumped into the running in February, attacking the governor over his COVID-19 executive orders.

“I’m running for attorney general to educate, empower and arm people to take back their government and put power back where it belongs,” DeVore said in a recent ad. He claimed, “The people became paralyzed with fear and allowed JB Pritzker to reign as king.”

As a “people’s attorney,” DeVore has the words “Freedom” and “Liberty” tattooed on his forearms.

He denies being a “Trump conservative,” as some Illinois Democratic Party mailers recently claimed, he said on Facebook.

Kim is viewed much more as an established Republican and has recently been endorsed by former Gov. Jim Edgar, whom he previously advised.

Taking part in the January race, Kim vowed to fight corruption and violent crime.

“Crime is spiraling out of control across Illinois, and our leaders continue to turn a blind eye and push to disappoint our law enforcement,” Kim said in January. He called Illinois “world famous” for corruption.

This is Kim’s second run for attorney general. He was the 2010 Republican nominee against then-Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan, who won that race by nearly two-thirds of the vote.

Shestokas, who describes himself as a “constitutional guardian,” has listed one of his top priorities as “resolving lawsuits filed by citizens against the state because of the state’s failure to comply with applicable law.”

According to state records, Shestokas has not reported any campaign donations.

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