Democratic candidate for governor JB Pritzker stopped in Bloomington on Friday to deliver a fiery stump speech exclusively targeting Gov. Bruce Rauner, looking past the Democratic primary just 46 days away.
Speaking to a packed union hall, Pritzker reiterated his platform for helping “working families” across Illinois. If elected, Pritzker said he’d work with everyone—including Republicans—even while pledging to protect organized labor. Pritzker's biggest applause came when he said “Illinois will never be a right-to-work state.”
Pritzker said his campaign was “building the grassroots infrastructure” that the Illinois Democratic Party will need to win down-ballot races too. McLean County has seen a surge in Democratic candidates—including first-timers—running for local and state races, an outgrowth of dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s election.
“Not just to win the governor’s race. Not just to win the lieutenant governor’s race. But to win every race, up and down the ticket,” said Pritzker. “From Mike Frerichs and all our statewide (candidates), all the way down to county officials running for office. Democrats will win in November.”
Pritzker, a billionaire, has donated around $49 million to his own campaign, including another $7 million last week.
Pritzker was joined in Bloomington by his running mate, state Rep. Juliana Stratton, and State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, who endorsed him.
“When Bruce Rauner chooses to spend his own money involving himself in the Democratic primary, sticking his nose into our tent, how does he choose to spend it? Does he spend it attacking Chris Kennedy? Does he spend it going after Daniel Biss? No, he spends it going after this team, because this is the team that really frightens him,” said Frerichs.
That’s a reference to a two-front election challenge facing Rauner, widely seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the U.S. Rauner also faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives.
Rauner has devoted significant time and resources to attacking Pritzker, the front-runner on the Democratic side. But Pritzker too is facing a primary challenge; Biss, a state senator from Evanston, is trailing him in a new poll of likely voters. Pritzker has attacked Biss in recent days for his past positions on charter schools and state pensions—a rare diversion from his consistent attacks on the Republican Rauner.
The primary election is March 20.
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