Will Michael Flynn endorsement of Rabine trump others in hot GOP primary?

The race for endorsements in the GOP gubernatorial primary took a new twist Tuesday with an ally of former President Donald Trump supporting McHenry County businessman Gary Rabine's bid for governor.

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to Trump, said in a video statement that "we need more leaders like Gary. Those who don't just talk conservative but take action. Gary is exactly the leader we need now during this critical moment in our nation's history."

In the fall of 2020, Rabine hosted the president's son Donald Trump Jr. at a fundraiser at the Bull Valley Golf Club.

Palatine Township Highway Commissioner Aaron Del Mar is Rabine's lieutenant governor running mate.

"With Gen. Flynn's endorsement we're one step closer to potentially seeing an endorsement from the former president," Del Mar said. "We support President Trump and we are excited to have the support of his friend and decorated four-star Gen. Michael Flynn."

A shout-out from the former president would electrify Illinois' Republican base and is a prize sought by conservative candidates in the primary.

State Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia told Politico on March 4 that in December "I was with (Trump) for several hours and I asked for his endorsement. I'm still waiting."

But Bailey did earn an endorsement from former state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, a conservative icon, earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, viewed as a moderate Republican, has received strong support from establishment GOP leaders such as Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and financial backing from billionaire and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.

Regarding Flynn's endorsement, Irvin and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan of downstate Petersburg had no comment. Bailey and former Monroe County state Sen. Paul Schimpf's campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.

However, Democratic incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker's campaign spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein said that Rabine's pride in an endorsement from a "big lie-touting, disgraced former Trump official who lied to the FBI tells you everything you need to know about the Illinois GOP."

In late 2020, Trump pardoned Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, although he later sought to reverse the plea.

Meanwhile, an objection to Sullivan's petitions was filed Monday by Naperville attorney Matthew Custardo, Illinois State Board of Elections records showed.

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Bull Valley resident and GOP governor candidate Gary Rabine owns a business in Schaumburg. Matthew Apgar/Shaw Media
The 2022 Republican candidates for Illinois governor are, clockwise from top left, Darren Bailey, Richard Irvin, Gary Rabine, Jesse Sullivan and Paul Schimpf.
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