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Violent rioters storm the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

Violent rioters storm the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

John Minchillo

Bailey distances his Illinois gubernatorial campaign from accused insurrectionist

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is distancing itself from a supporter who was arrested and charged for allegedly taking part in the Jan. 6th insurrection.

But Democrats ridiculed Bailey’s condemnation of Chicagoan Lawrence Ligas, who faces federal charges of illegally entering and remaining inside the Capitol building and allegedly engaging in disorderly conduct while there.

Ligas left a social media trail, highlighted in the Capitol Fax political blog, in which he appears to have been a fundraising contact for Bailey.

In a statement, Bailey’s campaign didn’t acknowledge the connection nor opine directly about the insurrection itself.

“We’re shocked by this news and we do not condone any illegal activities,” Bailey spokesman Joe DeBose said in a written statement. “He has never been a member of our campaign staff. We support law and order and trust the court system to ensure anyone breaking the law is held accountable for their actions.”

Jake Lewis, deputy director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, criticized the Bailey campaign’s statement.

“Not nearly good enough,” Lewis said. “This person was clearly part of the campaign team regardless of whether he was on ‘staff’ – he was the point of contact on a fundraiser, was helping them organize events and was representing in interactions with reporters.

“‘We do not condone’ does not equal condemning the guy. Also, Bailey has equivocated on the January 6 insurrection,” Lewis continued. “Why can’t he say that what happened at the Capitol on that day was wrong?”

Ligas is a longtime Northwest side activist and is chairman and co-founder of an organization named Logan Square Concerned Citizens.

He undertook a write-in campaign for state Senate in 2012 in a bid to unseat then-incumbent state Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago, but drew only 73 votes, and state campaign records show the state Republican Party paid him in 2014 for work as a field organizer.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Ligas’s cell phone placed himself inside the Capitol when rioters aligned with former President Donald Trump tried to disrupt congressional ratification of the 2020 presidential election that Trump lost.

The complaint against Ligas shows several color photographs of him inside the building at the time of the insurrection and cited an NPR story in which he was quoted outside the Capitol, saying, “We’re not moving on. We are not Republicans. We are the MAGA party. We are patriots.”

He is now at least the 16th Illinoisan to face criminal charges for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Dave McKinney covers Illinois politics and government for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @davemckinney.

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