Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) told the Republic-Times that he plans to decide next month whether he will run for governor of Illinois next year.
“Gov. Pritzker’s tenure as Illinois governor has been a catastrophic failure,” Schimpf said as to why he is considering a run. “From reckless spending and higher taxes to heavy-handed, illogical pandemic restrictions, Gov. Pritzker has severely weakened and divided our state. Illinoisans deserve a governor who understands their daily challenges, lives by the same rules they do, and fights for them against the entrenched special interest groups that are wreaking havoc upon our state. Although I am no longer a state senator, it is against my nature to stand idly by while an out-of-touch, extreme billionaire pushes us ever closer to disaster.”
Schimpf previously said he was mulling a run for that office but declined to speak much about it while still serving in the Legislature.
Schimpf’s term as state senator ended Jan. 13.
In addition to one term in the Senate, Schimpf ran for Illinois Attorney General in 2014, losing to Democrat Lisa Madigan.
Schimpf is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and attorney.
He has long been critical of Pritzker’s agenda, even prior to the pandemic.
In 2020, Schimpf lambasted Pritzker’s approach to handling COVID-19, arguing he exceeded his authority by governing via executive order
“The governor’s continued use of executive orders to unilaterally govern the state goes against the rule of law and usurps the authority of the General Assembly,” Schimpf said in early January. “I have heard many comparisons recently equating the mask orders to the state’s seat belt law, and I think it’s important to note the fact that we have a seat belt law, not a seat belt executive order. If the governor would ever decide to treat the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government, I think he would find a body willing to work together for the health and safety of Illinois. Unfortunately, he is still turning his back to the importance of legislative input, due process, and the rule of law.”
Prior to the winter surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Schimpf was also sharply critical of metrics the state used to measure the pandemic and impose restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
“From the very beginning, (Pritzker) made it clear that the goal was to flatten the curve so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. Yet his plan relies on the positivity rate as a trigger for actions, even though we’ve clearly seen that in Region 4, the positivity rate does not contain sufficient accuracy or insight to meaningfully assess the spread of COVID-19,” Schimpf said in September. “He should switch to the hospitalization rate, a far more accurate metric for where we are, before he asks our businesses and their employees to take another significant hit that they can’t afford.”