CHICAGO (CBS) – The third richest man in Illinois wants to be the governor of Illinois.
Democrat J.B. Pritzker threw his hat into the ring on Thursday and his entrance may have further raised the stakes on what it costs to win an election. CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has the story.
“My name is J.B. Pritzker and I am running for governor of Illinois.”
The billionaire businessman kicked off his campaign at Grand Crossing Park, where people from the African American community joined with union workers, several aldermen and others to cheer him.
J.B. Pritzker talked of his life fighting for progressive causes and running job-creating businesses. He is a billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune and a successful investor in high-tech businesses. But, J.B. Pritzker would rather be known for the causes be backed – early childhood education, righting wrongful convictions and fighting intolerance.
But much of his short speech was aimed at Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. WBBM’s Political Edior Craig Dellimore reports.
“Governor Rauner talks about what he might get done, or what he tried to get done,” Pritzker said. “It’s past time for all his talk. It’s time for action. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.”
Pritzker did not follow his parents into the hotel businesses, but said he has always embraced their progression in politics. He said that focus and his experience are what is needed in Springfield. He painted Governor Rauner has a failure.
“You know why I’m running for governor?” Pritzker said. “Because everything we care about is under siege from President Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner. Illinois is losing jobs and wasting opportunities. The very fiber of state is breaking down.”
Pritzker did not mention his Democratic Primary opponents even once.
It is his deep pockets, with a net worth over $3-billion according to Forbes, which makes Pritzker attractive to many Democrats.
“You’ve got to fight fire with fire,” said 27th Ward Alderman Water Burnett. “You can’t have a rag tag person running for governor when we’re running against a billionaire.”
Running against Republican Incumbent Bruce Rauner, a near-billionaire who late last year contributed $50-million to his own campaign.
But other democratic candidates for governor denounced the money race.
In a statement, State Senator Daniel Biss asked, “Do we want to try to out Bruce Rauner or offer a truly democratic alternative?”
Democratic candidate Chris Kennedy warned against embracing a battle of billionaires.
“I think we’ve seen the disastrous consequences of people trying to buy elections in Washington and Springfiled and that won’t be good for our state,” Kennedy said.
The Illinois GOP is already attacking Pritzker, charging he secretly supports hiking the state income tax to five percent.
Pritzker said Thursday that he wants a tax on millionaires and billionaires before raising taxes on the middle class. He accused Governor Rauner of being afraid to take on President Trump.