By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s official. Putting an end to months of speculation, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday he is running for re-election, unveiling a campaign ad touting his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois.

“From the beginning, JB Pritzker knew we faced a serious threat,” the video’s narrator says.

READ MORE: Ed's Driveway: Ford Bronco

The three-minute campaign ad shows snippets of Pritzker speaking COVID briefings, and highlights the state’s efforts to get people vaccinated.

The video juxtaposes the first-term Democrat’s handling of the pandemic against former President Donald Trump’s much-maligned response to COVID-19.

“In Washington, science took a back seat to politics, but in Illinois we knew the stakes were too high,” the narrator says.

The ad also features the slogan “Strong Leadership In Tough Times.”

“When I ran for governor four years ago, I could not have imagined that I would end up leading the state through a global pandemic,” Pritzker says in the video. “I may not have gotten every decision right, but at every step along the way, I followed the science, and focused on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people of Illinois.”

Pritzker’s announcement is hardly a surprise. While he’s been cagey in recent months when asked whether he planned to run for a second term, in March the billionaire donated $35 million to his campaign fund.

Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), who unsuccessfully sued to block some of Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions last year, is among four Republicans who have announced they plan to run for governor in 2022.

Former Illinois State Sen. Paul Schimpf, Illinois Army veteran and former police officer Christopher Roper, and businessman Gary Rabine also are running.

In a statement, Schimpf said, “Governor Pritzker’s reelection announcement today means the voters of Illinois will face a stark choice about the future of our state in 2022.”

MORE NEWS: Lollapalooza Now Requiring Masks In Tents And Indoors For All Attendees

“Under the Pritzker Leadership Deficit, he has failed to stand up to corruption, failed to protect our veterans and families, and failed to help overtaxed Illinoisans. In three years, JB Pritzker has demonstrated he has neither the vision nor the leadership skills to unite our state. Simply put, Illinoisans deserve better–they deserve a leader with commonsense who will renew our state,” Schimpf added.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff