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J.B. Pritzker names Rep. Juliana Stratton as running mate

Chicago Sun Times

Thursday, August 10, 2017  |  Article  |  Sun Times Staff

Candidates--Statewide (12)

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker has named Democratic state Rep. Juliana Stratton as his running mate.


He made the announcement in a video released by his campaign, has scheduled a press conference for 10:30 a.m. today.


Stratton waged a high-profile campaign to successfully oust Ken Dunkin from his South Side state representative seat last year. Though both ran in the Democratic primary, Dunkin had the support of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, while Stratton was backed by Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago.


President Barack Obama ended up cutting a campaign commercial for Stratton. It was a rare move for a sitting president to wade into a state legislative race; in the commercial, Obama praised Stratton as some who “has spent her career serving our community, improving the juvenile justice system and protecting public safety.”


Dunkin and Obama had a history; Dunkin had run a radio ad using a snippet from an Obama speech to the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield. The ad seemed designed to leave the impression Obama was backing Dunkin.


Obama had told lawmakers in his speech that finding common ground with opponents doesn’t “make me a sellout to my own party” — but when Dunkin jumped up to clap at the line, as if it were intended for him, Obama told him to sit down, adding: “We’ll talk later, Dunkin.”


According to her state representative’s biography, Stratton is director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago; founder and president of JDS Mediation Services, Inc.; former executive director of Cook County Justice Advisory Council, and former executive director of Cook County Justice for Children. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from DePaul University.