SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – At a campaign stop at the Fraternal Order Police Conference in O’Fallon, Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey doubled down on supporting the death penalty for convicted murderers of law enforcement officers. 

“There’s a new sheriff in town,” Bailey said. “When I’m governor, we will reinstate the death penalty for convicted cop killers.”

This is the first time Bailey has said it since coming out on top of the packed Republican primary for governor, but this isn’t the first time Bailey advocated for the death penalty for this year.

Prison reform activists caution any exceptions for the death penalty would be exploited. 

Democratic candidate and current Governor J.B. Pritzker historically has been against the death penalty in all cases. 

“I am not in favor of the death penalty,” Pritzker said in August 2021. “Don’t think that it’s a useful tool. Don’t think it deters people either.”

If Bailey does get elected governor, he’ll have to convince the democratic-controlled legislature to pass a bill, an all but impossible task. 

Illinois’s death penalty was abolished by Governor Pat Quinn (D) in 2011. Former governor Bruce Rauner (R) pushed for reinstatement but had little progress. 

At the conference, Bailey also criticized Pritzker for the SAFE-T act, a group of criminal justice reforms. Many parts of the law, including ending cash bail, will not go into effect until 2023 or later. 

“Governor Pritzker is making it harder for police to do their jobs in a state that has seen skyrocketing crime under his watch,” Bailey said. “Governor Pritzker bears direct responsibility for this crisis.”

Pritzker’s campaign fought back with Bailey’s silence on January 6th. Bailey has refused to answer questions from the media if he condemns the January 6th insurrection.

“Until Bailey tells us whether he stands with the insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6 or the police officers who defended our democracy, he has no right to claim he supports law enforcement,” Eliza Glezer, JB for Governor press secretary, said.