While the two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Illinois 55th District Senate seat may agree on most of the issues currently faced by the state, they differ on the best approach to meet those goals.

Darren Bailey, a farmer from Louisville in Clay County, is finishing his first term as Representative of Illinois’ 109th District while Jeff Fleming, an attorney from Olney for more than 40 years, can claim 36 years of county government experience. The two men are seeking to replace State Senator Dale Righter, who is not seeking reelection at the end of his term in 2020.

Both candidates are Second Amendment-supporting members of the National Rifle Association. Both are pro-life, and both believe that reducing regulations on the oil and coal industries is a vital part of boosting the southeastern Illinois economy.

Each candidate opposes government overreach, and both hope to lower taxes during their time in office.

How they plan to accomplish this is very different, however.

Bailey points to his time in office serving the 109th District, where his focal point has been educating the voters of the district, citing the use of witness slips as a method for deterring bills that don’t align with the district’s interests from being passed, as well as guiding his constituents to use the website www.ilga.gov to inform themselves about bills in the General Assembly.

Bailey has also encouraged the people of his district to call the offices of those politicians sponsoring bills with which they disagree to voice their opinions, even if they don’t reside in the districts of those politicians.

Fleming, however, has stated that he would introduce more legislation which carries the aim of helping the people of the 55th District. Doing so would rely on building support for said legislation in order to push it through the state legislature.

 This clash of activist-style governance versus traditional legislation is the core difference between Bailey and Fleming. Bailey’s plan is to arm his constituents with knowledge in order to empower them to force changes in state legislation, while Fleming’s strategy is to find people with whom he can work in Springfield to get his own bills passed.

The Republican Primary Election is slated for Tuesday, March 17. The winner between Bailey and Fleming will serve as the Republican nominee for the 55th District’s Senate seat.

The election for the seat itself will take place in early November.