* National Journal, posted with permission…
Pritzker, the billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, has so far spent at least $9 million with the help of significant self-funding on his challenge to Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. While most of this spending has focused on TV ads and other paid media that promote his own candidacy, the longtime donor is also promising to back up down-ballot candidates.
“We do not have a strong state party that’s out defending the Democratic message writ large,” Pritzker said in an interview, emphasizing he is focusing on promoting his anti-Rauner message. “So my campaign is really having to fill in.”
Illinois Democrats see Pritzker’s candidacy as an opportunity to expand beyond Cook County, something one Democratic strategist said has been a longtime goal never fully realized. Pritzker is already running robocalls in state legislative districts outside of Cook and DuPage counties, and as far as the Missouri and Kentucky borders. But he also plans to open at least seven office spaces that could help down-ballot candidates, according to two Illinois Democratic strategists.
In “internal conversations about J.B. Pritzker, there is a level of excitement about his willingness to invest financially” in party building, said Illinois Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos. The congresswoman, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “heartland engagement,” is the only Democrat in the delegation from outside of the Chicago area.
He’s certainly right about DPI’s messaging. The party is all about helping a few House incumbents and candidates.
* From the same article…
Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss, another Illinois gubernatorial candidate, said in an interview that the party lacks a “unified message.” He in part faulted Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan, the chair of the state party, and warned that “the Pritzker-Madigan alliance, while powerful, seems to be all about doubling down on just being present” in “a few swing districts.”
Says the guy whose campaign just opened a “field office” in his home town of Evanston.