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Pritzker is taking a page from Rauner’s 2014 campaign (in a good way)

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

* Back to Greg Hinz’s interview of JB Pritzker

On Speaker Madigan, who also serves as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, Pritzker surprised me when he repeatedly went out of his way to declare that the party, unlike its siblings in other states, has atrophied under Madigan’s nearly two decades of leadership.

“There really is no Illinois Democratic Party,” Pritzker said, referring in part to the lack of a unified field organization, but also to the fact that the party’s central committee doesn’t even bother to meet to consider endorsing candidates anymore. “The Democratic Party doesn’t exist. . . .I believe we need to build a real Democratic Party in Illinois when it comes to field.”

Pritzker said he’s doing just that with his own campaign, setting up a structure of workers in every corner of the state—and he indicated that structure might continue later. He ducked when asked if that would work if the structure was turned over to Madigan, who usually is mostly concerned about retaining control of the House: “I don’t know,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker is doing what Bruce Rauner did in 2013 and 2014. The ILGOP basically existed only on paper back then. Rauner opened a ton of field offices during the primary (Pritzker just opened his 15th field office) and hired a ton of field staff. Rauner’s press releases back then were also similar to Pritzker’s today. Pritzker doesn’t just do specific candidate-based releases, he sends out lots of releases that you’d normally see from state parties in other states.

The difference is that Rauner completely took over the ILGOP after the primary, injecting tens of millions of dollars in the process. Pritzker won’t be able to do that unless Speaker Madigan steps aside, and that doesn’t seem likely.

* Back to the story

But he seemed to bend over backward to rebut charges from Rauner and some Democratic rivals that he has the speaker’s private backing.

“I don’t owe my election to anybody. I’m getting elected on my own,” he said. And if he hasn’t called for Madigan to step down—”As governor of a state, you don’t get to choose” who you work with—Pritzker did note that he favors the adoption of term limits on legislative leadership positions, something that, if implemented, would affect Madigan sometime in the next decade.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    Also, real talk, if your only issue is “Mike Madigan gives me the bad feels”, this is the only way to reduce his power. Rauner has already demonstrated that trying to build an anti-Madigan organization in the Republican Party doesn’t work, because partisans gonna partisan (in fact, Rauner’s relentless anti-Madigan whining may have made Madigan stronger).

  2. - People Over Parties - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    ===in fact, Rauner’s relentless anti-Madigan whining may have made Madigan stronger===


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    I love me a good ground game.

    I also me a building of a Crew that tries to embrace something bigger than just pluses and votes.

    For me, with Rauner, they were unabashedly anti-establishment, with Primary opponents “Careerfellas” and an overall campaign about “shaking” and “bringing back”

    Why is this important to remember?

    Rauner built his apparatus as a “get on board or get run over”. It was never intended to build upon a GOP reality.

    It was intended and succeeded in first usurping power, then overwhelming the party, which led to the purchase, with $20 million and “no $&@#% problems”

    Where Pritzker can separate homself?


    Building his apparatus, it could be about the diversity of party and winning where winning happens.

    Lakeshore liberals

    Downstate conservatives

    Suburban moderates

    It’s recognizing that one party isn’t one agenda.

    Raunerism is the agenda packaged as a party formally known as the ILGOP.

    Can Pritzker allow the building to be diverse enough to foster winning and the differences within the Democratic Party make the party as a whole stronger by its diversity of thought and members elected with that diversity.

    That’s what Raunerism won’t allow and why IPI and Proft feel they can outflank Rauner in the caucuses.

    Allow diversity of strength, foster it, build upon it, Pritzker can help lead it, but it will take more than Pritzker, Madigan, and others to wholly own the Democratic Party.

    That’s why Pritzker is doing this in a good way, not the Rauner/Raunerism way.

  4. - Just Me - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    I honestly can’t figure out why Madigan is staying past his welcome. Dude, is this really how you want your legacy to be?

    Go out now and get a statue of yourself.

  5. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:31 am:


    As I said, it’s a “may”, not a “has”, but Rauner has lashed Madigan and Labor back together after they understandably fell out over SB1, and Madigan has figured out how to pick up Republican votes for veto overrides, including on a tax hike. He’s certainly personally less popular (although no one really liked him before Rauner, either), though.

  6. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    ==Go out now and get a statue of yourself.==

    No one’s going to build a statue to him, anyway.

    I don’t think you understand how Madigan views his “legacy”. Personal popularity? If he cared about that, he’d have retired 15 years ago.

  7. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    “There really is no Illinois Democratic Party”

    Everybody knows this. Every Democrat knows this. It’s been a huge problem for Democrats for decades. We don’t issue party releases. We don’t have a real Twitter presence or web presence. We don’t have a farm system.

    Our state needs a real Democratic party. So glad he’s saying out loud and doing something about what many in the trenches have been complaining about for years.

  8. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    ===Our state needs a real Democratic party ===

    Easier said than done, because it’s almost impossible to keep Dems from shooting themselves in the foot. You’ll have the Bernie-bros and socialists in Chicago screaming that wealthy=bad and that Pritzker is no better than Rauner (Biss people are already doing this, btw), you’ll have Madigan’s people trying to throw monkey wrenches in this plan to keep their guy in charge of major decisions and appointments, Kennedy people butt-sore over him not being the anointed candidate working the rumor mill behind his back, and AA community members saying they don’t get enough of a say in running things while Hispanics say the same (both rightfully so). All this while Pritzker gets shots lobbed at him over whatever the most recent stupid and/or illegal act performed by any Illinois dem.

    Better for Pritzker to build his own apparatus and have his own people run it, keep it separate from any other dem orgs and as far away from Madigan’s people as possible.

  9. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    The Rauner takeover of the Republican party is because the party is week, has no leadership and is frankly full of crazy people (IPI, Proft, teaparty, etc). There was a vacuum that Rauner filled.

    For the Democratic party, Madigan is the vacuum.

  10. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    Ok we traded a bucket of party releases AND a bowl of twitter releases for a U.S. Senator, U.S. Rep., Comptroller, etc.
    Seems like responders prefer something more than winning elections.
    Each to his/her own.

  11. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    The DPI is really the Illinois House Dems organization. In the void left behind, the Dem Chairs Assoc has been slowly picking up the pieces and providing some organization and leadership. That is the structure Pritzger can build upon, and, assuming he is successful, that is where the reins should be handed. If the Dems have someone who is currently doing the work of a of State Party Chair, it is Doug House, not Mike Madigan. And House is working with the Pritzger folks.

  12. - Max Bayer - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    I don’t think this will work out how he wants it to. He likely wants the mantle of the Illinois dems and Madigan ain’t gonna give that up anytime soon.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===He likely wants the mantle of the Illinois dems===

    It appears he wants a structure that doesn’t currently exist.

  14. - Midwestern Independent - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    Folks, remember there is still a primary to be held. I’m not sure JB’s anti-Trump anti-Madigan campaign is the way is the way to beat Chris Kennedy.

  15. - whetstone - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    Whether or not Pritzker’s the guy to build the party (I don’t know either way), that’s a good way of putting it.

    Much as his money and rep are giving him a big head start, his campaign seems very organized, professional, and competent. It’ll be interesting to see if he can carry that over to governing/party-building if he wins.

  16. - Max Bayer - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    === Folks, remember there is still a primary to be held. I’m not sure JB’s anti-Trump anti-Madigan campaign is the way is the way to beat Chris Kennedy. ===

    JB would be struggling right now if it weren’t for his ad campaign, which seems to be backfiring as we speak. I don’t think JB stands an actual chance.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    ===JB would be struggling right now if it weren’t for his ad campaign===

    … which is part and parcel of actually running for Governor.

    ===…which seems to be backfiring as we speak===

    Except for polling says otherwise.

    Good try.

  18. - Max Bayer - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    === Except for polling says otherwise.

    Good try. ===

    Last poll was taken weeks ago on here from subscribers. It may be valid but considering “undecided” was trailing right behind him in that poll and I’ve seen more and more people switch over, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===I’ve seen more and more people switch over, ===

    What polling shows you that?

  20. - Max Bayer - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    === What polling shows you that? ===

    I was making an informal claim, no major polls have been released at all. I have spoken to people who were turned off by the fact that JB is overexposing thus why I said “seems” to be backfiring. The assumption is there that I could very well be wrong.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===no major polls have been released at all.===

    We Ask America and Capitol Fax released a poll…

    So there’s that.

  22. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    === I have spoken to people who ===

    Ah, the ole “Lucky Pierre” argument mechanism.

  23. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    I agree with Max.

  24. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Nov 21, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    And my poll includes 12 of the finest minds found at the McDonalds coffee table of knowledge.

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