CHICAGO (CBS) — Does J.B. Pritzker have a problem with African-American voters?
That’s the fallout Pritzker’s campaign is working to face down after FBI wiretap recordings of a phone call with jailed ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich caught him criticizing a powerful black politician.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley sampled reactions from powerful brokers as well as ordinary voters.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, for example, is sticking by her support of Pritzker, saying, “In my view, J.B. Pritzker is the best choice in the Democratic Primary and for governor.”
That, despite his remarks heard on the FBI wiretap recordings. In that call, he described Illinois Senate President Emil Jones – also seen at the time as a possible Obama successor – as “crass.” He also said, if Blagojevich were forced to pick an African-American to replace Obama in the Senate, Jesse White would be the “least offensive” pick.
“Look, we’ve all had casual conversations which we might not be happy to see on the front pages of a newspaper, and I think this is one of those instances,” Preckwinkle said. “I think he’s a decent person and I think the efforts to portray him otherwise are misguided and wrong.”
However, African-American voters CBS 2 spoke with showed new skepticism about Pritzker. When asked the question, “does J.B. Pritzker have a problem with black voters?” this is how some responded:
- “I would say, yes,” Bablon Kountz.
- “He certainly does. And he needs to fix it before it gets worse,” Millard Southern.
“If he wasn’t hooked up with Blagojevich, I think he would make a good governor. But that is going to track him and haunt him down,” Kountz added.
Wednesday afternoon, activist Jedidiah Brown went to a South Side Pritzker campaign office allegedly to get answers about Pritzker’s comments. He did it while on Facebook Live, and after a loud confrontation, was asked to leave the office, which he eventually did. Just another sign that this controversy isn’t over.