Pritzker promises ‘robust campaign’ – but won’t detail personal spending plans

A day after he launched his bid to retain a post he spent a record $ 171 million of his own money to earn, Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday dismissed criticism from the right that he “was trying to buy another election “.

But the Chicago billionaire wouldn’t estimate how much of his personal fortune he expects to spend this time around, beyond the promise of a “strong campaign” to help Democrats win the poll.

In a one-on-one interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Pritzker tried to stay focused on his case and the work that remains.

“I want to make sure people know where I stand on the issues and what I’ve done to improve the lives of people across the state,” Pritzker said. “We got the government to work for families in Illinois, and I’m going to continue to do that work, we’ve started to really get our finances in order in Illinois, and these are all things that I’m going to make sure you know the people of Illinois – the voters of Illinois know – and also anything more we can do over the next four years. “

The Democratic governor spent the day after officially launching his candidacy for a second term with a three-minute video sitting down for a series of one-on-one talks with the Illinois political press in a bid to sell the highlights of his first term. as he prepares to plead his case for a second.

Pritzker’s Republican challengers pursued him with their own partisan talking points after he announced his run for re-election.

“Today our failed Liberal Governor JB Pritzker announced that he would try to buy another election,” State Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia said on Monday. “Billionaires like Pritzker cannot relate to the struggles of Illinois workers and families.”

On Tuesday, the governor did not address this criticism head-on, responding that he would make sure “people know where I stand on the issues.”

Governor JB Pritzker praised the state budget at a press conference at the State Capitol in Springfield last month.
Justin Fowler / State Journal-Subscribe via AP

Asked about Bailey and the other two Republicans vying for the chance to topple him, the governor called the GOP pitch a “mess” and said he “was not going to meet the challenges they have as that party and all the different opinions that exist among the Republican candidates.

In addition to Bailey, Pritzker’s current Republican rivals include suburban businessman Gary Rabine and former State Senator Paul Schimpf of Waterloo. Two Democrats – West Side nurse Beverly Miles and Keisha Smith – have also launched offers, but with Pritzker’s deep pockets and name recognition, they’re ready to fight.

Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, left, in March;  State Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, center;  former State Senator Paul Schimpf, right.

Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, left, in March; State Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, center; former State Senator Paul Schimpf, right.
Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times dossier; Facebook

The governor objected when asked how much of his own money he would invest in his re-election campaign.

In 2018, Pritzker injected $ 171,832,734.95 of his fortune into his campaign, breaking the previous national record for a self-funded candidate. It fell to around $ 72.90 per vote.

Heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, Pritzker has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $ 3.5 billion.

Pritzker said he would help wherever he could to raise money for state candidates.

This will include supporting Blue Wave Illinois in electing reduced-ballot candidates and working with Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Robin Kelly, whose day job as a congressman prohibits him from raising funds during national or local races.

Kelly beat Pritzker’s pick for the job, Ald. Michelle Harris (8th).

US Representative Robin Kelly, left, last August;  Ald.  Michelle Harris (8th), right, in February.

US Representative Robin Kelly, left, last August; Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), right, in February.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia; Pat Nabong / Sun-Times file.

The Federal Election Commission ruled last week that the state party could create a special committee to raise funds for the state elections, but Kelly could not play any role in that fundraiser or in selecting committee members. . A commissioner said the move makes Kelly’s role “purely honorary.”

Pritzker has not expressed concern about the move or what it means for the party as it heads into a midterm election year, which is often difficult for the party that holds the White House.

“We want to make sure we have a solid apparatus to elect Democrats, so I know the party is trying to get around the FEC decision and we’ll have to see where that happens,” Pritzker said. “I have always loved and respected Robin Kelly – she was a great member of the US Congress … so I will continue to support her.”

While his response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the focal point of a campaign launch video on Monday, the governor said his campaign would also feature the state raising the minimum wage, expanding healthcare coverage for health, putting people to work “building roads and bridges and schools” and making the state government work for families in Illinois.

“I ran in 2018 and talked a lot about trying to tackle the biggest challenges we’ve faced as a state and put Springfield back on the side of working families and that’s what I’m doing. did, “said the governor. “We need to grow our economy. These are all things that I have worked on and that we must continue to do over the next four years.

But Rabine released his own statement, saying “the people of Illinois cannot afford four more years with JB Pritzker” and “his radical agenda.”

“The past two and a half years have been a disaster for Illinois under the watchful eye of JB Pritzker,” said the GOP challenger. Governor Pritzker has raised taxes, increased spending, and enacted some of the most radical and far-left laws in the country.

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