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Local News

Rep. Batinick still 'hopeful' going into Democratic governorship

As one of the few surviving local Republicans, official ready to get back to work in Springfield

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, still is "hopeful" despite having Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Prtizker in office for the next four years.
State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, still is "hopeful" despite having Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Prtizker in office for the next four years.

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election – he won by about 1 percentage point.

This came after defeating his 2014 opponent by about 13 points and running unopposed in 2016. But earlier this month, he faced a formidable challenge from Mica Freeman, a former teacher who decided to challenge him in what would end up being a blue wave election statewide.

Batinick was able to hold on despite what he called major “headwinds” for Republicans this cycle and an energized Democratic base.

A consistent conservative in the General Assembly, Batinick has been put in the crosshairs of powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Freeman received about $1.2 million for her campaign from the state Democratic Party, which Madigan leads.

“I was one of the few that survived that deluge,” Batinick said.

He said his constituents care about their high taxes and government corruption, both issues he has placed at the forefront of his agenda.

Batinick also complimented the Democrats for getting out the vote this past election. That resulted in them taking back the governor’s mansion, with J.B. Pritzker defeating incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Despite Democrats now seemingly having full control in Springfield, Batinick said he still is hopeful Pritzker “doesn’t overreach on some of the far-left stuff.” He specifically pointed to Pritzker having advocated for a $15 minimum wage. Batinick said that for Illinoisans downstate, raising the minimum wage that much “won’t help them” because businesses will continue to leave.

As for the future of the Illinois GOP, Batinick said for issues such as property taxes, Republicans still have to make the argument to residents about how the topic affects them and the economic well-being of the state.

“We may have to tell the same story but a little differently to different groups,” he said. “And that’s something we’re going to have to learn between now and 2020.”

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