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Pritzker Announces Re-Election Bid

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ended speculation about his political future. The governor said he will seek another term.

Pritzker has repeatedly deflected questions about running again. But now, the first term governor and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, the first Black person to hold that office, say they have more to accomplish. The ticket issued a video on Monday that includes testimonials from businesspeople, health care workers and others praising Pritzker’s response to the pandemic.

"He's really passionate. He really cares about Illinois. And he is brave." said Rose McNaughton of Staunton in the video. "He did a lot of things he probably didn't need to do and he took care of us."

Pritzker has faced criticism from some who viewed his executive orders during the pandemic as a government overreach. Those orders including requiring masks be worn in public places and shutting down indoor service at bars and restaurants. In announcing his re-election campaign, the governor is non-apologetic.

"When I ran for governor four years ago, I could not have imagined I would end up leading the state through a global pandemic," he said. "Look, I may not have gotten every decision right. But at every step along the way, I followed the science.”

Pritzker easily defeated Republican Bruce Rauner in 2018.

The billionaire Democratic governor will enter this race with a huge fundraising advantage thanks to his personal wealth. He added $35 million to his campaign fund in March and there’s plenty more where that came from.

While the filing period for office is still months away, at least one Democrat, registered nurse Beverly Miles of Chicago, announced she wants to challenge Pritzker in the primary. Three Republicans — state senator Darren Bailey, former state senator Paul Schimpf and suburban businessman Gary Rabine — have indicated they will run next year. A larger field is possible.

The Illinois Republican Party was quick to respond to the Pritzker news. Chairman Don Tracy issued a statement:

“During a global pandemic that required steady leadership, Governor Pritzker failed our most vulnerable in their time of need. When our children missed an entire year of in-person education, Pritzker was silent while political teachers unions forced children to stay home even when the science and CDC said they should be back in school. When thousands of Illinoisans were laid off from work, they went weeks without help from Pritzker’s incompetent state unemployment agency. And when our nation’s elderly heroes needed protection from the virus in our state facilities, the tragic mistakes of the Pritzker administration led to the death of 36 veterans at Lasalle Veterans Home. Governor Pritzker’s record on helping Illinois through the pandemic is a failure. I look forward to talking about that and his radical policy agenda out of step with Illinoisans in the upcoming election.”

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