Pritzker’s campaign last evening confirmed the coming endorsement but would not go much beyond the names of unions that POLITICO already knew of from sources, including: Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 United Association of Plumbers Local 130 and a local laborers group.
Trade unions in this state are historically allied with Speaker Madigan. Not saying, just saying. But word has been building on the street that Madigan allies are starting to more than just lean toward Pritzker because of his self-funding potential and his unexpected campaign abilities.
* And remember that 2012 remark from JB Pritzker about how he was waiting to see who the Republican nominee was before deciding whether to endorse President Obama’s reelection? It’s not going away…
“He’s presenting himself now as a progressive Democrat,” [Sen. Daniel Biss] said. “I’ve never known him to be that in the past. His track record in the past doesn’t show how that would be the case. I think we need to hear from him what he was hoping to support.”
Biss again mocked Pritzker as a moderate pretending to be a progressive.
“Maybe he was hoping a Republican candidate running against President Obama in 2012 would be more progressive than President Obama,” he said dryly. “That’s not what I saw coming out of the Republican primary in 2012 and I’d be really curious to hear a detailed explanation from Mr. Pritzker.”
“I just want J.B. Pritzker to explain who he is. Let us know the story of J.B. Pritzker and all those pieces of history of not being sure if he wanted Barack Obama to be reelected president in 2012 to the support for a series of moderate candidates over the years. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. He just needs to tell us and give a clear picture and not just try to become somebody else.”
A campaign spokesperson for Chris Kennedy said, “We’ll let the video speak for itself. The voters can be the judge.”
Um, OK. Biss was an early endorser of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He crafted a pension reform plan when he was in the House that was opposed by unions. And he raised a bunch of money from Speaker Madigan types last year for his federal PAC.
* Meanwhile, from the Tribune…
Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy used a fundraising email over the weekend to compare rival J.B. Pritzker to Illinois’ Republican governor.
“Gov. Rauner has done some pretty awful things to our state. The worst thing he has done is fail to pass a budget but the second worst thing he has done is silence his own party. No elected official in the Republican Party has spoken out against him. Why would they? He spent millions in the last election cycle to elect his preferred candidates. He has used his money to intimidate them. He has used his finances to bully them,” Kennedy says in the email solicitation.
“We can’t let what’s happening in the Republican Party happen in the Democratic Party,” he said. “We are at a moment when we can strengthen the Democratic Party in Illinois. But we won’t become stronger by nominating someone to represent us who doesn’t need our money, who doesn’t need our ideas, and who isn’t influenced by our opinions. Big money talks, it doesn’t listen.”
I think Sen. Sam McCann would differ with Kennedy on the “No elected official in the Republican Party has spoken out against him” remark, but maybe that’s because Sam’s the exception which proves the rule.
Either way, that’s probably not a bad angle to use.
* Kennedy spoke to the Will and Grundy Counties Trades and Labor Council Dinner on Friday night…
“This is not a stalemate,” Kennedy said. “This is a hostage taking. This governor isn’t interested in negotiating a budget. If he wanted to negotiate a budget he could get it done within a week and there would be Democratic and Republican support. He’s holding that budget hostage for his turnaround agenda.”
That agenda includes measures such as property tax freezes, lawsuit reform and “right to work” zones, which leaves the decision of whether to require workers to join a union up to voters in their own communities. Unions such as the Will and Grundy Counties Trades and Labor Council see right to work zones as an attempt to weaken the influence of unions statewide.
“We’re definitely not supporting Rauner,” said Council President Charlie Hanus. “We’re looking for somebody that can work with people instead of trying to dictate like Rauner.”
Kennedy also spoke about struggling communities across the state. He specifically mentioned communities downstate with fewer resources such as grocery stores and hospitals as readily accessible as they are in the Chicago area. He said those struggling have become angry with the wealthy, the elite and politicians, and that’s why they voted in Republicans like President Donald Trump. He argued Democrats need to start paying attention to those communities.
* ADDED: Democrat doubleheader: Kennedy bashes Rauner, Bernal takes on Long: “Gov. Rauner is using it because he wants to run for president of the United States,” Kennedy said, “He’s adopted a phony Southern accent so he can appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party, largely located in the South. His platform is going to be he’s the guy who beat the unions and destroyed the fundamental tenant of our country, which is the rule of law, and he’s broken the pension contract that workers have. That’s what he wants to do. If he’s going to hold our state budget hostage for something that’s more about his personal ambitions than something that’s good for the rest of the state, that needs to end. He wears a Carhartt jacket around like he’s some sort of pipe fitter that’s just walked off a construction job on a 20 degree day in a 30 knot wind, and he’s using that as a disguise to go right after the people he’s screwing that he’s dressing like, and that shouldn’t be allowed. A guy who wears phony clothes and has that phony accent doesn’t deserve our respect and he sure doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in the state of Illinois.”
* ILGOP Press release: Will Democrats Change Tune This Small Business Week? Dem Candidates for Gov. Race Towards Madigan on Tax-and-Spend Agenda
* Alderman, Ameya Pawar answers the questions, ‘Who is Ameya Pawar and why should he be the next Governor of Illinois?”
* Rodney Davis main target of barbs at Democrat luncheon: “Did you get the same email I did from Congressman Davis this week?” Bennett asked the audience. “He’s finally getting back to us on issues that he knows you care about, on airline customer service. The disconnect is unbelievable. But it’s hard to know what your constituents want when you won’t meet with them and you won’t hear any conflicting views.”