Without getting into the particular politics of Richard Irvin’s campaign for Illinois governor, it is worth noting the position from which he approaches his run: as mayor of Aurora, Illinois, the largest suburb in the Chicago region and the second largest city in Illinois. Some notes about Aurora and what leading that city might mean for leading Illinois:
-Aurora has unique history. With its location roughly 40 miles outside downtown Chicago, it has an industrial background with its location on the Fox River and its railroad connections. For Naperville residents at the turn of the 20th century, a trip to Aurora along the rail line was a big deal.
-The city experienced a renaissance in recent decades plus high population growth between 1980 and 2010 – going from over 81,000 residents to over 197,000 residents – before a slight downturn in the 2010s to a population of just over 180,000.
-That population growth means Aurora is now solidly the second largest city in Illinois.
-It is a racially diverse suburb with 2021 Census estimates putting the population at 42.7% Latino, 34.9% White alone, 10.5% Black, and 9.3% Asian.
-A relatively recent rebranding campaign took the city’s longtime motto of “The City of Lights” and updated it.
In advertisements, Irvin has highlighted his experience as a mayor of a decent sized city. A governor’s race between a politician identified with Chicago and another identified with the biggest suburb and second biggest city could present some interesting contrasts.