SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Republican candidates and voters came out swinging Thursday at this year’s Republican Day rally, cheering with voters to “break the leftist stranglehold of Democrats” one day after Gov. JB Pritzker held his Governor’s Day event in the same location at the Illinois State Fair.

Ticketed guests were treated to lunch, drinks, beer, and a rally on the Director’s Lawn on the fairgrounds in similar fashion to the Governor’s Day rally Wednesday.

However, not all ticketed guests were allowed in: Lawrence Ligas, a Bailey supporter charged with storming the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, had a ticket, but was prevented from entering by GOP staff and police officers. Darren Bailey’s campaign has been working to distance themselves from Ligas since his indictment.

Senator and gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey and wife Cindy arrived to the rally via John Deere tractor.

The speaking event was emceed by Don Tracy, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, and kicked off with the National Anthem, a prayer, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Notably, none of these three opening items occurred at yesterday’s Democrat event.

The prayer asked for guidance and protection of candidates and voters. It is notable that the prayer did not address abortion, as that is one topic Bailey has been vocal about in recent months.

In his introduction to the program, Chairman Tracy stressed the unity of the Republican party, which has come under scrutiny after a tense primary election for the gubernatorial candidate.

“We had a unity event to prove that we are unified as a party,” said Tracy of the GOP event downtown Springfield Wednesday night. Tracy said that former candidates Richard Irvin, Jesse Sullivan, and Gary Rabine were all in attendence.

Thursday’s speakers included Tracy, Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, U.S. congressional candidate Regan Deering, Rep. Tom Demmer, candidate Shannon Teresi, candidate Tom DeVore, Rep. Dan Brady, and U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Salvi.

Messaging circled around an “us versus them” narrative, painting the GOP as the class of the working people and the Democratic party as that of wealth and overuse of power. Regardless of who candidates are running against, all who spoke insinuated incumbent Gov. Pritzker as the enemy of the working class.

Names used to refer to the current governor included King Pritzker, Daddy Warbucks, limousine liberal, oligarch, fat cat, hypocrite, and more.

Candidates also favored the use of “lapdog” in their descriptions of their opponents, including DeVore calling incumbent Attorney General Kwame Raoul a lapdog of Pritzker, and even Cook County State’s Attorney as a lapdog of businessman George Soros.

Many speakers attacked the media as well, following former president Donald Trump’s lead in accusing journalism of only reporting “fake news.”

“Don’t even get me started on the fake media,” said DeVore, to laughs and cheers from the crowd.

Another talking point was the accusation that Pritzker is too focused on his run for president to pay attention to Illinois. This was repeated multiple times, and met with boos and jeers from the crowd. At one point, McConchie suggested that Pritzker is “buying elections as a launching pad” for his presidential run. However, Pritzker has denied that he is planning to run in 2024.

All speakers focused on being public servants, and many called their campaigns “grassroots,” meaning they’ve been raised by public support rather than personal funding or previous positions. No one emphasized this more than Darren Bailey.

Bailey, who owns and operates a farm in Xenia, IL, is also a millionaire. However, his money was downplayed in favor of his folksy, “rough around the edges” stump speech railing against Pritzker’s self-funded campaign. Bailey touted to voters that he is “just like you,” as “a member of the working people.”

He continued to play up the difference between farmer and billionaire, saying, “On Tuesday, I milked a cow. Last week, JB Pritzker took a picture with the butter cow.”

Bailey left the stage the way he entered, with the crowd on their feet chanting “Darren, Darren,” and “Bailey, Bailey,” at the same time.

Bailey will face Gov. Pritzker in the November general election, which is less than three months away.