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Mulling run for Congress, farmer Bailey sows seeds for support from indicted Trump: ‘It’s an hon

Fresh from his front-row seat at Donald Trump’s post-arraignment political rally, downstate farmer Darren Bailey on Wednesday pledged his full-throated support for the former president — ahead of the former state senator’s own expected attempt at a political comeback.

“It’s an honor to stand with this man,” Bailey wrote on Facebook above a photo of the two Republicans giving the thumbs-up sign at Trump’s country club in Bedminster, N.J.

The New Jersey rally came hours after Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 37 federal felony counts accusing the former one-term president of illegally storing classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and trying to hide them from federal investigators seeking their return.

“What President Trump went through yesterday could happen to anyone [sic] of us for any reason!” Bailey wrote on Wednesday. “We must elect and support men and women who will stand firm in their beliefs and not waiver! [sic]”

Badly beaten by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the general election last year, 54.9% to 42.3%, Bailey is once again cozying up to Trump as he considers a run for Congress against Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, whose 12th Congressional District encompasses GOP-friendly territories in southern Illinois.

The congressional primary election is nine months away — but Trump is already a factor.

Both Bailey and Bost were endorsed by Trump during their respective races last year, with the former president hosting a rally in central Illinois in the waning days of the GOP primary to publicly back Bailey for governor. Two days later, Trump endorsed Bost in his congressional reelection race.

But Trump’s support for Bailey came at an awkward time — with the former president waiting until polls showed Bailey’s nomination was a sure

Former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in 2022 — featured at the top of Bost’s Facebook page.
Former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in 2022 — featured at the top of Bost’s Facebook page. Facebook

 thing. In the general election, Bailey downplayed Trump’s earlier support as part of an effort to win over more moderate suburban GOP voters less enamored with the embattled former president.

Bailey’s struggle to win votes statewide in the gubernatorial contest came after the Democratic Governors’ Association pumped millions of dollars into the primary to help ensure Bailey’s nomination over more moderate Republicans.

For his part, Bost can show that he was a Trump supporter through and through — even voting against creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Bost has already announced his reelection plans.

Bailey has not yet formally declared his candidacy for next year’s congressional race, but the Xenia Republican has made other efforts to get into Trump’s ear. He also attended an April fundraiser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

For his part, Bost has also declared his support for Trump amidst the former president’s latest legal woes.

“Tonight is the next step in the Democrats’ coordinated effort targeting Donald J. Trump,” Bost tweeted on June 8. “They’re trying to derail his frontrunner campaign for the presidency, despite the fact that Joe Biden, himself, had classified documents strewn across the Mid-Atlantic region!”

Biden’s lawyers discovered what they described as a “small number” of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president at a think tank linked to Biden and at his Delaware home, administration lawyers have said. They notified the White House, which alerted federal authorities.

The special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Biden’s retention of classified documents hasn’t released his findings yet. Biden’s attorneys have said they are fully cooperating.

President Donald Trump listens as Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., speaks during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill., in 2018.
President Donald Trump listens as Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., speaks during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill., in 2018. Jeff Roberson / AP-File

But Bost repeated his accusations on Facebook this week, writing that “Joe Biden hid classified documents behind his Corvette in the garage. Enough of the double standards!”

And even though it came nearly a year ago, Bost keeps his Trump endorsement from 2022 at the top of his Facebook page as a featured image. The Murphysboro Republican also posted a birthday message to Trump on Wednesday — the day the former president turned 77.

Bost was elected in 2015 and serves on the committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure and Veterans’ Affairs. He had $413,573.98 in his campaign war chest as of the end of March, according to the campaign finance records.

Bailey’s gubernatorial campaign fund had $29,394.29 cash on hand, as of the end of March — but that money can’t be used on a federal race because it was raised under the state’s looser campaign finance laws.

Bost did not respond to requests for comment. Bailey declined comment on a potential congressional run or his Trump posts. He has not granted an interview since his gubernatorial loss last year.

But the Democratic Party of Illinois said Bailey’s “sycophantic dedication to disgraced former president Donald Trump, which he himself has characterized as ‘unwavering,’ is yet another sad chapter in the Illinois GOP’s obsession with MAGA extremism.”

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