Friday, April 7, 2017

Pritzker gets into mix, but do we really want a ‘rich guy’ battle for governor?

The field of candidates who will ask us to consider making them our state’s governor for the next four years is shaping up.
Pritzker's going for gov...

Just a few days after being the guy who merely tagged along with Bolingbrook mayoral hopeful Jackie Traynere when she campaigned for votes, J.B. Pritzker went ahead and formally declared himself to be one of several who want to be the Democrat who challenges Gov. Bruce Rauner come next year’s election cycle.

THE ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN Party immediately went on the attack; proclaiming that Pritzker is Illinois House Speaker Michael “Madigan’s billionaire” (after Pritzker called Rauner President Donald J. "Trump's local partner") and the guy who has gathered in those cliché-laden smoke filled rooms with political hacks to concoct tax hikes that will hit us all in our wallets!

“Like a true machine politician, J.B. Pritzker mirrored the Madigan tax hike plan behind closed doors, before even announcing his campaign,” GOP state spokesman Steven Yaffe said. “It’s clear that Pritzker’s loyalty belongs to … Madigan and his plan for higher taxes with no real reform.”

Ignoring, of course, the fact that many people in Illinois view Rauner’s version of “reform” as nothing more than a politically-partisan hang-up with regards to organized labor and unions. There’s a reason Rauner’s approval rating stinks (not quite one-third) and isn’t much better than the Madigan approval ratings.

But the real key to comprehending this campaign is the response of another candidate, Daniel Biss, the state senator from Evanston, who cited the fact that some people think is Pritzker’s big advantage – the fact that his family is ridiculously wealthy and he could match the kind of money Rauner plans to put into his own political futures.
... unless Kennedy can thwart his path

RAUNER, AFTER ALL, is the guy who began this year by stating his intentions to spend some $50 million of his own fortune on his campaign and those of others to try to create a state Legislature that would be sympathetic to his anti-union desires.

As Biss told the Capitol Fax newsletter, “do we try to out-Rauner Bruce Rauner or offer a truly Democratic alternative that empowers ordinary Illinoisans.”

I’m sure in his own mind, Biss thinks people will pick him as the alternative, allowing him to overcome the difference in campaign funding that he just won't have.

Just as I’m sure 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar (who on Thursday called Pritzker, “an accomplished investor and philanthropist” and welcomed him to the campaign) has visions of becoming the gubernatorial nominee every time he goes about making illusions to the “New Deal” of Democratic demigod Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Will Dem winner be up to brawl w/ Rauner?

ALTHOUGH THE GUY who may wind up playing well with the Democratic Party public is the one who’s related to another of the Dem demigods – as in Christopher Kennedy, the son of Bobby and nephew to both Jack and Teddy.

If you need the subtitled translation, that’s the son of a former attorney general and presidential candidate, and nephew to a president AND a long-time U.S. senator.

There are those who think this Democratic primary will wind up being a battle between Pritzker and Kennedy, with the latter letting it be known this week that during the past six weeks he has been a candidate, he has raised over $1 million in contributions from some 3,000 individuals.
PAWAR: Too gentlemanly for fight?

That’s not insignificant! Particularly if the powers-that-be within Democratic Party interests start kicking in their own money. Kennedy could be the one who can take on the guy whose family wealth includes the Hyatt Hotels chain.

COULD THIS WIND up being the Kennedy/Pritzker brawl, seeing these two bloody each other up leading into a knock-down, dragged out, all-out brawl (got to overdo the clichés here) against Bruce Rauner?

Or could one of the lesser candidates manage to catch the public eye? Something of which I’m skeptical, particularly in the case of Bob Daiber, the superintendent of schools in Madison County (across the Mississippi River from St. Louis) – who seems to think he’s the 21st Century answer to Glenn Poshard.

Remember his 1998 campaign where he won the Democratic primary by dominating the rural Illinois vote? Only to get his behind kicked in the general election by Republican George Ryan – a fate likely to recur in 2018 if Daiber was really nominated.
KELLY: Who?!?

Then, there’s William J. Kelly, the guy who’d like to challenge Rauner for the Republican nomination and who knew just enough about television and media to gain himself public attention (but hardly any votes) for his failed mayoral campaign of 2015. And whom I’m sure someone will contact me on his behalf to rant and rage about the fact that his political fantasies were relegated to the final paragraph of this particular commentary!


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