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J.B. Pritzker Forms Exploratory Committee For Illinois Governor

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 14, 2017 9:30PM

J.B Pritzker, via //

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker took another step closer to joining the next race for governor, filing the paperwork for an exploratory committee and dropping $200,000 to fund its operations.

“As I’ve traveled across Illinois I’ve listened to people express their deep concerns about the direction of our state,” Pritzker said in a press release published by Capitol Fax. “It is clear that having a Governor who’s unwilling to address our state’s challenges is having a real impact on people’s lives. Today, I will take the next step in this process by filing an exploratory committee. I look forward to continuing my conversations with people across Illinois who are currently being forced to pay the price of failed leadership from Governor Rauner.”

Though the race for Illinois governor is more than a year and eight months away, the pool of potential challengers to oust Gov. Bruce Rauner is already becoming crowded. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar announced his candidacy in January and in February, was joined by Chicago businessman Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy and Madison County School Superintendent Bob Daiber. Rounding out the field is Alex Paterakis, a 29-year-old Skokie man.

Anyone hoping to challenge Rauner will have to put up a significant amount of cash. According to filings published by the Illinois Sunshine foundation, the governor currently has $50,842,485.51 in his campaign coffers, the bulk of which came from a $50 million donation he made to himself in December. Among his other top donors include billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and Uline CEO Richard Uihlein. Pritzker is worth an estimated $3.4 billion.

The Illinois Republican Party called Pritzker a “tainted political insider” in a typical statement connecting him to Rauner archnemesis Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

“Political insider J.B. Pritzker is a longtime member of Mike Madigan’s inner circle, having funneled over a million dollars to Madigan in the last year alone to help Madigan stop reforms,” the Illinois GOP said in a statement. “Pritzker was also one of Rod Blagojevich’s closest associates. He worked behind the scenes to bankroll his campaigns and was at the center of Blagojevich’s criminal scheme to sell Illinois’ Senate seat."