Illinois' Republican gubernatorial candidates attempt to use increase in violent crime as path toward regaining suburban voters
Gary Rabine, a Republican candidate for Illinois governor, on March 30, 2021, in Schaumburg, Illinois. - Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS

CHICAGO — Republicans running for Illinois governor are using the increase in violent crime in an effort to reach suburban voters critical in deciding a statewide election and recapture a region of the state the GOP controlled for decades. With Cook County reporting on Tuesday its 1,000th homicide of the year, a level not seen since 1994, the GOP candidates’ rhetoric has shifted from criticism of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, a subject on which the governor was ready to engage his opponents. “The real pandemic in Illinois ... is the violence that we’re faci...