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Illinois governor’s race: Pritzker and Bailey set to debate tonight, Thursday at 7p.m.

With the election about a month away, the two men who want to be governor of Illinois for the next four years square off in a debate Thursday night. 

Democratic incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, will take the stage at Illinois State University in Normal in a debate sponsored by AARP of Illinois. The debate will allow members from two crucial voting blocs to hear from the candidates on matters important to both, including affordable housing, health care, and education. 

The hour-long debate will take place at 7 p.m., airing live on Nexstar television stations serving Illinois.  

Crime has been a hot-button issue during the campaign, with the controversial SAFE-T Act part of the focus. The justice and police reform legislation eliminates cash bail starting Jan. 1 in Illinois, the first state to do so.  

Pritzker admits lawmakers may have to make changes to the crime package.

“I am willing to consider tweaks to the legislation,” Pritzker said. “The legislation is about providing tools and technology to police, making sure we are funding them, and making sure we keep the murderers, rapists, and domestic abusers in jail.”

Bailey says the SAFE-T Act should be scrapped altogether. 

“Gov. Pritzker has created the crime that goes on in Chicago and on our streets,” Bailey said. “Friends, on Jan. 1, the crime that we are reading about in Chicago will open up across the state.”

Just one day before the debate, the Pritzker campaign went on the offensive by releasing a video of Bailey criticizing the sponsor of the debate AARP, calling the organization selfish and immoral. 

Pritzker leads Bailey in the latest polls, but in the areas of crime and the economy, an Emerson College poll shows Bailey with a slight edge.

The second scheduled debate will be held on Oct. 18 in Chicago.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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