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Pritzker weekend roundup

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As we discussed earlier, Chris Kennedy warned on Friday that JB Pritzker could turn out to be another “tyrant” like Bruce Rauner. Here’s Mark Brown

All other things being equal, I would just as soon the Democratic Party didn’t follow the Republicans down the path of choosing the ultra-rich to run the country.

Based on his body of work, though, Pritzker may very well prove to be the most qualified and accomplished Democrat in the race. […]

I missed connections afterward with Pritzker, but a campaign spokesman responded that Kennedy “is more focused on his talking points than dealing with reality. … It’s JB who’s been standing up to everything Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump are trying to tear down.”

I’ve seen no indication Pritzker would be a bully, although I do believe he wants to play a role in building a stronger state party apparatus like Rauner has done with the Republicans.

That’s something Democrats are going to need going forward no matter who is their nominee.

Pritzker and Rauner have two very different personalities. But that much wealth can intimidate a whole lot of Statehouse types, so it could be awful tempting to flout.

* Meanwhile, Pritzker talked about his childhood with Michael Sneed

J.B.: “My parents, Donald and Sue, were progressives; believers in social justice. They were both Chicagoans. Although my father graduated cum laude with honors from Harvard, he felt he was low man on the totem pole in the family business. So he moved to California at the age of 26 and helped develop the motel business. That was the beginning of Hyatt.”

“My sister Penny, my brother Tony and I were raised in California. And when I was 7 years old and Hyatt had become the fastest-growing hotel chain in America, father died of a heart attack at age 39. My mother was left with three young kids and for ten years struggled mightily with alcoholism.

My mother, who I want to make clear is a hero to me, eventually died from it. And while she was going through that struggle — and while my brother and sister were off at school, my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Jay insisted I move to Chicago from California and live with them while my mother was trying to overcome her addiction.

“Aunt Cindy was an important part of my upbringing because she kind of rescued me from the situation.”

Having a strong personal story about overcoming adversity can be a big plus for candidates, but especially a wealthy candidate because it can show he or she is a lot like everyone else.

And that is one strong story.

* Pritzker was also in the Quad Cities over the weekend

“It’s important to be able to talk to people and listen,” Pritzker told News 8 after the rally, adding, “Mostly our elected officials don’t listen. And it’s what I do well, and it’s what I’ll take to Springfield when I’m governor.”

* Steinberg’s take

We’ve still got a governor’s race to get through. Having accomplished nothing, Bruce Rauner isn’t in as bad of a position as he’d be if any of his initiatives had worked, though inactivity is not a success strategy.

This vulnerability has drawn former Merchandise Mart head Chris Kennedy and, on Thursday, J.B. Pritzker, into contention. “A race with three billionaires,” a city editor quipped ruefully, and I replied that Kennedy isn’t a billionaire. “He’s the poor man of the group.” (Nor is Rauner a billionaire — a common misconception —
except in his dreams). […]

Pritzker, well . . . how shall I say this? . . . presents an image that will not necessarily be embraced down in Wayne County. Donald Trump needed to sprinkle his strongest hallucinatory dust to convince people that turning his father’s millions into hundreds of millions makes him a business genius. Pritzker’s most savvy career move was being born, so he might have a tougher time of it.

* CBS 2 was at Friday’s SEIU picket

But in seeking support from minimum-wage unionized workers, the Pritzker family’s control of Hyatt hotels could be an issue for J.B. Pritzker.

Hyatt housekeepers waged a four-year battle for a union contract. In one infamous incident, hotel managers even turned heat lamps on picketing workers during a heat wave.

Pritzker distanced himself from that history.

“I have never worked in the hotel business. I have always had my own company. It’s what I built from scratch,” he tells CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley.

* Greg Hinz tells us where that specific Hyatt oppo came from

A day after J.B. Pritzker officially entered the race for governor, a Republican group allied with GOP incumbent Bruce Rauner let the Democrat have it over labor troubles at the Pritzker family’s Hyatt hotel chain.

In a statement with the modest headline “Billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker launches Illinois gov campaign on shameless hypocrisy,” the Republican Governors Association said that while the candidate favors a $15 minimum wage, Hyatt fought efforts by Unite Here union to organize and secure raises for Hyatt workers.

The group points to stories such as one on WBEZ a few years ago about how the firm turned winter heat lamps on in the middle of the summer to sweat out striking workers, so the issue is fair game.

But the group neglects to mention that the same WBEZ story reports on how a labor deal eventually was reached, and that Pritzker has had no role in Hyatt management. And it doesn’t at all touch on Rauner’s extremely hostile relations with labor over reduced union rights, collective bargaining, workers’ compensation and other matters.

       

14 Comments
  1. - Fax Machine - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Pritzker is easy going, which makes him likeable but it also means he’ll have at least one more gaffe like his transgender bathroom tweet. As soon as it happens he’ll get whacked hard by Rauner & the other Dems - and we’ll see 1) if he can bounce back from it and 2) how he reacts under a crisis situation.


  2. - Been There - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    ===“I have never worked in the hotel business. I have always had my own company. It’s what I built from scratch,”====
    I don’t have a problem with JB but he needs a stronger answer to that question. He may have never had anything to do with management but his share of the stock in Hyatt I am guessing would give him some weight in the board room. And the people running the company were either his relatives or those appointed by them. I’m sure he cashed many a dividend check. Its not the same as me owning part of Ford because I have a mutual fund that invests in their stock.


  3. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    ==Bruce Rauner isn’t in as bad of a position as he’d be if any of his initiatives had worked==

    This makes no sense; does he mean Rauner would be in worse shape if any of his ideas had been enacted, but made things worse? I’m not sure that actually *is* worse than things getting worse because you did nothing.

    ==Pritzker, well . . . how shall I say this? . . . presents an image that will not necessarily be embraced down in Wayne County. Donald Trump needed to sprinkle his strongest hallucinatory dust to convince people that turning his father’s millions into hundreds of millions makes him a business genius. Pritzker’s most savvy career move was being born, so he might have a tougher time of it.==

    This is bad analysis, too. Two elections in a row have shown us that voters in “Wayne County” (We’re just going to use it as a stand-in for “Not Chicago or the Collars or Metro East or a College Town”) don’t reject a wealthy candidate just ’cause they’re wealthy. You can’t handwave that away by talking about Donald Trump’s magic pixie dust. Pritzker’s wealth is a burden in the Democratic Primary, but after that, it’s all what you make of it.


  4. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    Another point in Pritzker’s favor is that he really seems to understand that he needs to build his own apparatus, parallel to DPI.


  5. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    ==I have always had my own company. It’s what I built from scratch==

    When building scratch, it doesn’t hurt to have a lot of the main ingredient: scratch.


  6. - Come on Man! - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    To Pritzker’s personal story, Dan Proft is saying “I too was a poor black child.”


  7. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    I wouldn’t just blow off that heat lamp story as Republican oppo research.

    Dem sites were circulating that story in opposition to Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary during the Obama admin and it was publicly reported when it happened.

    My first reax as a commenter to JB as a candidate included wondering how unions would react to him because of Hyatt’s practices.

    Rauner’s anti labor pathos is relevant in a general election tilt with JB but not really the primary.

    JB needs to say more than claim no connection to Hyatt. Like that such practices are wrong.


  8. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Bruce will turn into Karl Marx if it helps him win.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    He may become governor, and possibly a good one (which would mean he’s 100% better than our last few). However, he is grossly overweight, and medically, that (God forbid) may short circuit his plans. If you want to control the budget, start controlling your own appetites. Lead by example. That would be refreshing.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    ==It’s what I built from scratch,” ==

    If by “scratch” he means millions he started with thanks to his family’s anti-union business, sure


  11. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    ==However, he is grossly overweight, and medically, that (God forbid) may short circuit his plans. If you want to control the budget, start controlling your own appetites. ==

    Pick a lane; is his weight a problem medically, or because it lets you peddle some hokum about his morality?

    Anyway, apparently he’s lost 50 pounds.


  12. - A guy - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    ==Pick a lane; is his weight a problem medically, or because it lets you peddle some hokum about his morality?==

    In the reality of what matters and what doesn’t, this probably does. Wealth + Chubby = a caricature that’s tough to overcome.


  13. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    @Anonymous - Nice fake medical concern to barely disguise your fat-shaming.

    Overeating is a vice, sure, but I don’t think it should be a disqualifying one for public office.

    Gluttony is not a bigger moral failing than vanity or adultery yet few fat people run and politics is rotten with narcissists and failures at monogamy.

    Personally I like politicians with vices I can see. At least you can’t be blackmailed for being fat.


  14. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    “- Come on Man! - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    To Pritzker’s personal story, Dan Proft is saying “I too was a poor black child.”

    How many ways can you say “shame on you Dan Proft.” The guy lost his Dad when he was 7, his Mom became an alcoholic and she died when he was 17. There are a few words I’d share but they’d get me banned.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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