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Pritzker launches reelection bid: ‘We have so much more we can do together’

Chicago Sun Times

Tuesday, July 20, 2021  |  Article  |  Rachel Hinton

Pritzker, J.B.
Pritzker’s decision to seek another term is no surprise despite the governor’s recent comments that he was still making up his mind. The billionaire Democrat dropped $35 million into his campaign fund in March, at the time calling it a “preventative measure” to protect against Republican attacks on the “Democratic agenda.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker officially launched his reelection bid Monday, releasing a three-minute video that leans on his response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a main reason behind why he deserves a second term.

“Look, I may not have gotten every decision right, but at every step along the way I followed the science, and focused on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people,” Pritzker says in the announcement video.

“Part of why I’m running for reelection is because I watched the heroes across our state step up and do the right thing. We had so much to accomplish, and we were able to do that together. I’m very proud of all of the people of the state of Illinois, and we have so much more we can do together.”

Republicans responded with their own critique of the Democrat, with one of his GOP rivals arguing the state could accomplish more without Pritzker’s “weak leadership and failed, liberal agenda” and another arguing that “Illinoisans deserve better—they deserve a leader with common sense who will renew our state.”

Pritzker’s campaign video, which was released on Twitter Monday afternoon, features news clips that lay out signature pieces of the governor’s pandemic response, such as the push to get personal protective equipment in the hands of health care workers, covering emergency childcare for frontline workers and providing funds for small businesses.

The video also offers up soundbites from registered nurses, physicians, mayors, small business owners and others who call the governor brave and laud his leadership.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a big town, or a small town, Gov. Pritzker guided us with leadership that got us to this point,” Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows, chief executive of the city of about 9,000 near Rockford, says in the video.

Pritzker’s decision to seek another term is no surprise despite the governor’s recent comments that he was still making up his mind.

The billionaire Democrat dropped $35 million into his campaign fund in March, at the time insisting that wasn’t a glimpse of the likely pricey campaign to come but rather a “preventative measure” to protect against Republican attacks on the “Democratic agenda.”

Two Democrats — Beverly Miles, a registered nurse and West Garfield Park resident, and Keisha Smith — have launched bids, each hoping to be Illinois’ first Black woman governor. Pritzker’s deep pockets and name recognition will make that difficult.

Pritzker’s current Republican rivals include suburban businessman Gary Rabine, state Sen. Darren Bailey and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo.

In a statement, Bailey characterized Pritzker’s bid for a second term as an “attempt to buy another election” and said the state can’t afford “another four years of Pritzker’s weak leadership and failed, liberal agenda.”

“Billionaires like Pritzker cannot relate to the struggles of working Illinoisans and families,” the southern Illinois Republican said. “He doesn’t understand the damage his lockdowns did to small businesses, mental health, and working families across the state.

“He doesn’t understand his war on police has fueled the war on our streets and made our communities less safe. He doesn’t understand how high taxes, regulations, and unfunded mandates from Springfield are forcing our families, neighbors, businesses, and jobs out of the state.”

Schimpf said in a statement Pritzker’s decision to seek another term “means the voters of Illinois will face a stark choice about the future of our state in 2022.

“Under the Pritzker Leadership Deficit, he has failed to stand up to corruption, failed to protect our veterans and families, and failed to help overtaxed Illinoisans,” Schimpf said. “In three years, J.B. Pritzker has demonstrated he has neither the vision nor the leadership skills to unite our state. Simply put, Illinoisans deserve better—they deserve a leader with common sense who will renew our state.”

In a tweet, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis took a shot at Pritzker’s record, calling the governor “another lying, failed politician.”

The Republican from downstate Taylorville has been mentioned as a potential challenger to Pritzker in next year’s election. A spokesperson for the congressman did not respond to a request for comment.