Illinois is a deep blue state on the whole. And along with deep blue comes a disregard of and even a hatred for issues like gun rights for the little people among many in the political class – even among some Republicans. What’s surprised me in this election season is the unabashedly pro-gun positions staked out by many candidates.

At Guns Save Life, we can’t endorse candidates because of our tax status. We do, however, educate the people on candidates’ positions. Here are some races we’re aware of with a substantive difference between the candidates in contested Republican primary races.

Why just a handful of Republican races? Because not a single pro-gun Democrat has reached out to us. Frankly, that should be alarming by itself, but shows how Democrats running for office have moved hard left, refusing to progress toward a future of freedom and instead promoting a system of gun control that reenacts past tyrannies.

Here’s one of the races we’re looking at:  17th Congressional race…  Judge Joe McGraw vs. Scott Crowl.

Two gents, both of which have visited the GSL Peoria meeting and spoken.  Their district is a Dem +2, meaning it’s dangerously close to a toss-up right out of the gate.  The incumbent, Sorenson the weatherman, snuck in over Esther Joy King thanks to a lot of national Dem cash plus potentially some vote-counting shenanigans.   Since then, Eric Sorenson has established quite the voting record standing arm-in-arm with the radical left.

In other words, with what’s going on in the world today, it’s going to be a hotly contested race.

Maybe.  Here’s how…

Last month, we welcomed Scott Crowl in P-town.  Crowl holds himself out as a farmer, and a complete newbie at politics.  He even sounded new to this whole campaigning.  He describes himself as pro-gun.

He called this morning and we had a good, productive conversation.  Turns out he is a very pro-gun union leader who has been voting Republican since the era of some guy by the name of Gerald Ford.  We circled back around to guns and while he doesn’t have a carry license (“I want to get one one of these days”), he did mention his two gun safes.  I’m leaving out additional details for security reasons.   No CCW license?  That’s okay, a couple million Illinois FOID holders like Mr. Crowl don’t.

Yes, he was the local AFSCME union president of a small local chapter for three years, running against and replacing the previous president that did some unpopular things.

Originally, in talking with some trusted people, the question came up about Mr. Crowl as a Manchurian candidate, put in place by the left to make Sorenson’s reelection a cakewalk.  In talking with him, I think it’s more likely he’s a non-establishment GOP candidate than a plant.  Sure, state and national AFSCME leaders tend to be radical lunatics, but that’s not a universal at the local level.

And check out his campaign video posted on YouTube:

How I missed this earlier, I don’t know.  Fast forward to 35 seconds into it:

Yeah, it might be a little FUDDish, but props to him for actually appearing with a gun in a campaign commercial – in Illinois.  And I don’t see creases on his orange vest to suggest some just took it out of a wrapper for a staged photo.

We had a good chat and I think our fears of him being a stealth gun grabber out to gift this general election to Sorenson are utterly unfounded.


This month in Peoria, we hosted Judge Joe McGraw.  We say judge because he served for a couple of decades on the bench in Rockford handling everything from family law to death penalty cases.


Judge Joe is a husband, father, lifelong Illinoisan, and a faithful steward of the law. Joe McGraw has spent his career in law enforcement – serving as a prosecutor, private attorney, and judge. Now, he’s stepping down from the bench to fight to save America for the next generation. Joe McGraw is ready to take on corruption in Washington, and return our district to a safe, free, and economically prosperous community.

When it comes to fighting crime, no one is better at the job than Judge Joe. After completing his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign and graduating from the Northern Illinois University College of Law, he went on to spend nearly 20 years as Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, overseeing a specialized caseload for gun felonies and PATH Court—a full-spectrum plan to combat human trafficking and support survivors. Judge Joe has dedicated his life to upholding the law because he knows that soft-on-crime policies only create more victims.

Joe McGraw’s expertise and exceptional leadership earned him recognition by his fellow judges, who elected him Chairman of the Illinois Conference of Chief Judges. Judge Joe also serves our community as a regular instructor for the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Trial Advocacy Program, and he previously served as an adjunct instructor at Rockford University and Judson University.

Early on, Judge Joe learned to work hard, love his country, and earn a living. Judge Joe’s father was an Army combat veteran and his mother served as a US Marine. Together his parents owned a horseshoe manufacturing business where Joe worked forging horseshoes. He knows what it means to sweat for a paycheck and have calluses on his hands at the end of the workweek. In Congress, Judge Joe will stand up to Washington politicians’ reckless spending agenda that is driving inflation and crushing family budgets. He’ll strive to bring manufacturing jobs home, so everyone has the opportunity to earn an honest wage and create a better future for themselves and their family.

McGraw sounded strong on guns and immigration.  Why do we mention immigration?  Because of the crime these folks are committing is impacting us and our safety and security.  Then there’s the fentanyl.

Both men are new to politics.  One has an indisputably strong record of law-and-order behind him, and the other also talks plenty tough on crime.   And right now, under the current administration, both law-and-order and our right to keep and bear arms are very much under attack.

4 thoughts on “ILLINOIS PRIMARY SERIES: 17th Congressional Race… Judge Joe McGraw vs. Scott Crowl [UPDATED]”
  1. Thank you for these. Only one so far has been in a district where I live but I like the insightful look at candidates during this primary season! Good luck, Judge. We need more people like you.

  2. BAR card holding members might be worse than Democrats. Don’t vote in Bar members or your asking for more of the same. Ask the judge if he’s registered with FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act). Bar members originally weren’t allowed to hold public office, and in my opinion, they shouldn’t today. Bar members have taken an oath that supersedes the oath they may take to uphold the constitution.

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