Chris Kennedy

A nonprofit food provider is expanding its services to Rockford. 

Top Box Foods was founded by Chris Kennedy, a nephew of the late U.S. president. The organization buys foods from sources such as restaurant suppliers and sell preassembled boxes of groceries to residents. Kennedy said the decision to move to Rockford was strongly based on the economic situation there.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will square off this fall in the general election for Illinois governor.  Each pumped millions into their campaigns to win primary races. Their return on investment shows just how costly this race will be.  

Rauner narrowly won his party’s primary, but he was far ahead in the amount of money raised. The first-term governor raised $215 per vote, and his challenger Jeanne Ives just $12 per vote. Ives wound up with roughly 49 percent support among those who cast ballots. 

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as head of the Democratic Party at least temporarily, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

The speaker fired Kevin Quinn earlier this week after Madigan’s lawyer spent three months investigating accusations that Quinn harassed a campaign staffer.     

In this Friday Forum, we begin a series of interviews about important Illinois Primary Election races. WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad talked with Northern Illinois University Prof. Scot Schraufnagel, chairman of the Political Science Department, about various statewide and Congressional races. This week, we start with the top of the ballot: the race for Illinois governor.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner likely considered the upcoming election while crafting the State of the State Address he gave Wednesday. There's a host of Democratic candidates vying to unseat him - and a single Republican who says she wants to get him out the way during the primary this March. They too are sticking to campaign points.

'Moneyball': The 2018 Illinois Governor's Race

Jan 16, 2018
BRIAN MACKEY AND KEITH COOPER / CC BY 2.0 / A DERIVATIVE OF MONEY / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

This year’s campaign pits a multimillionaire incumbent against a field that includes a multibillionaire in what could be the costliest governor's race in U.S. history.

The labels used in American politics to differentiate candidates today are fairly standard: Republican and Democrat. Moderate and radical. Establishment and anti-establishment.

But a new pair of labels is needed to fully consider Illinois' 2018 race for governor: haves and have-nots.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what he thought that amount ought to be.

The concept of a graduated income tax has been embraced by state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy, and Bob Daiber.

Jaclyn Driscoll/NPR Illinois

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker  was selected to be first on the March primary ballot among the seven candidates running.

The State Board of Elections held a lottery on Wednesday to determine ballot position.  Those in line with nominating petitions on the first day of filing were entered into the lottery. Some studies suggest a candidate’s position on the ballot could earn them extra votes. In  tight primaries, that could mean winning the nomination.

After months of promising to release their tax returns, two Democratic candidates for Illinois governor released them -- partially.

Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker both released the top pages of their tax returns - but not much else. Kennedy and his wife reported to the IRS that they earned $1.2 million dollars last year. Meanwhile, Pritzker - an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune - reported earning almost $15 million with his wife last year, nearly $10 million in 2015, and $3 million in 2014.

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The Democratic candidates for Illinois Governor convened at a progressive forum yesterday to stake out the distinctions in their campaigns.

Evanston state Sen. Daniel Biss started with a question.

 

“Are we going to listen to the insiders and let it be all about billionaires again, or are we going to build a progressive movement to make transformational change that we have needed for so long?" he asked. 

 

The Illinois primary election isn’t until next March, but campaigns are going strong. Most Democrats running for governor will take part in a forum Tuesday night at Northern Illinois University.

Kim Gates, a member of DeKalb Stands, says her group -- which helped organize the event -- was formed in reaction to concerns about the presidential election. Now, she says, they see the importance of being engaged politically at every level of government.

Screenshot from YouTube

Democratic candidate for governor Chris Kennedy's newly announced running mate says he wants to address the "senseless violence" that plagues Illinois and took his son's life earlier this summer.

Kennedy on Thursday introduced Chicago political activist Ra Joy as his lieutenant governor candidate in the 2018 campaign.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was a popular target Thursday when Illinois Democratic candidates met in Springfield for an annual political breakfast.

The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said both Rauner and Trump were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Money" by Flickr User 401(K) 2012 / (CC X 2.0)

Next year, Illinois could have one of the most expensive gubernatorial campaigns the country has ever seen.

Among Democrats, recent filings show that J.B. Pritzker spent more than $9 million in the last three months, much of it on media.  The candidate says he plans to spend only his own money on the campaign. By contrast, State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, raised about $1 million from donors.

Chris Kennedy raised $700,000 and spent almost all of it. Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar raised $139,000.  State Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, raised $66,000.