J.B. Pritzker

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Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner probably thought he didn't need to worry about his only Republican opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, during the primary campaign. In the past, he'd called her a "fringe candidate" and decided to forgo campaigning against her until just a few weeks before election day.

 Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

"It's time for a real transformation for the state of Illinois," said McCann in a three-minute YouTube video announcing his candidacy and calling out Rauner for "surrendering to Chicago Democrats."

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Commentary: Insights from the 2018 primary election

"Is this embattled Republican governor toast?" -- Natasha Korecki, Politico

"Is Gov. Bruce Rauner a lame duck limping?" -- Chuck Sweeny, Rockford Register Star

Rauner Tells GOP Voters 'I Have Heard You'

Mar 23, 2018
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner says he needs to “find common ground” with the nearly half of Republican voters who rallied behind his primary election opponent, Jeanne Ives.

In his election night victory speech, Rauner said he heard the message those voters wanted to send, but he has yet to give specific details on what that message is.

Rauner raised almost $26 million for every million raised by Ives. Despite that, he only managed to beat her by three percentage points. 

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.     

Pritzker Apologizes For Comments On Race

Feb 6, 2018
jb-pritzker.com

Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is apologizing for racially insensitive comments captured on a FBI wiretap between him and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Pritzker said Tuesday he regrets portions of the conversations recorded during a decade-old investigation of Blagojevich, who's now imprisoned for corruption. Pritzker is heard suggesting Blagojevich appoint Secretary of State Jesse White, calling him the "least offensive" African American.

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.

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.

jb-pritzker.com

Illinois’ two Democratic U.S. senators are taking sides in the primary for governor. 

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are both endorsing businessman J.B. Pritzker.

It’s the latest example of Illinois' Democratic establishment lining up behind Pritzker. He's already gotten nods from a variety of different politicians, party organizations, and labor unions.

Another gubernatorial candidate, state Sen. Daniel Biss, says while he admires the senators, Democrats need to decide whether they want to be the "billionaire party," a reference to Pritzker’s wealth.