Published: Thu, March 22, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Democrat JB Pritzker Wins Illinois Gubernatorial Primary

Democrat JB Pritzker Wins Illinois Gubernatorial Primary

The first-term governor squeezed out a primary win over state Rep. Jeanne Ives, winning by 4 percentage points.

"We are in a critical time, a critical turning point in Illinois", Rauner told supporters. "I choose to fight for the struggling", Pritzker said, as reported by The New York Times.

"I'm sure you thought of this one, but Jesse White", Pritzker says at one point, suggesting the IL secretary of state as a good choice. Daniel Biss and businessman Chris Kennedy - made during debates, criticizing Pritzker and his perceived links to Madigan, who besides holding the the powerful speaker's post is also head of the state Democratic party. He also held an event with IL residents who said they'd been hurt by the more than two-year state budget crisis that resulted from disagreements between the first-term governor and Democratic leaders. In her concession speech Ives didn't pledge to support Rauner in the general election or call for other Republicans to do so.

The Chicago businessman and heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune put roughly $70 million into his campaign, spending heavily on advertising and staffing campaign offices across IL.

Ives' campaign sparked interest in the race with ads attacking Rauner's lack of conservative record. One of them, which the chairman of the state GOP blasted as a "cowardly attempt to stoke political division", portrays actors mockingly thanking Rauner for not doing enough to restrict illegal immigration, abortion and transgender bathroom rights.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul won the eight-way Democratic race for the state's top lawyer, edging out former Gov. Pat Quinn for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general.

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As explained by The Daily Beast, Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski defeated his progressive opponent, Marie Newman, by a narrow margin of 51% to 49%, despite his anti-abortion, against Obamacare and the DREAM Act positions, all the Democratic Party's battle horses when it comes to beating Trump's party. The pair's combined personal spending on the race tops $120 million already. Pritzker spent more than $60 million to win his race.

Pritzker also has had to answer questions about his connections with overseas trusts in low-tax countries, though he maintains they're focused on charitable giving and that he has no control over them. In response, Biss has called him a "fraud" while Kennedy labeled him a "liar". During the primary the Chicago Tribune published wiretap audio of Pritzker talking with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who's now imprisoned for corruption. The ads included a 30-minute infomercial-style ad with the full Federal Bureau of Investigation recordings. In the tape Pritzker is heard calculating how to appeal to African-Americans.

Fueled by a strong campaign infrastructure, which included 18 field offices and almost 10,000 volunteers, Pritzker won 45 percent of the vote. Pritzker has apologized, and White continues to back him.

Biss had successfully cast himself as the "middle class" candidate.

"We can do so much better", said Pritzker.

Because both candidates are extremely wealthy and able to fund most, if not all, of their campaigns, analysts expect the race to be the most expensive governor's race in US history. The challenger also got a boost from devious ads from the Democratic Governors' Association calling her too conservative for IL (an effort to help her against Rauner). Illinois's bond rating is hovering one level above "junk" status, and the state went two years without a budget before finally passing one with a significant tax hike last summer. Tio Hardiman got less than one percent. "And (Rauner) barely squeezed through just with Ives, so that doesn't bode well". The Southern Illinoisan reports even lower numbers across the southern parts of the state, where many races were uncontested. Associated Press writers Don Babwin and Herbert McCann in Chicago and Sarah Zimmerman in Springfield contributed.

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