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Kennedy blasts Pritzker for “buying off” black politicians

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* Remember when I told you Friday about how JB Pritzker was spreading around a ton of cash to local political organizations? Well, the Kennedy campaign was working on the same idea at the time and it kind of exploded later in the day

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Friday accused rival J.B. Pritzker of “buying off” elected officials, including local African-American leaders as part of an “apology tour” over 2008 remarks about potential black successors to Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. […]

Kennedy said Pritzker gave the money “in hopes they will help voters forget who he is really is — someone who was caught on FBI wiretap tapes with Rod Blagojevich, asking for political favors and ingratiating himself with the disgraced governor by making comments disrespectful of the African-American leadership in our state.”

“He’s taken pay-to-play politics and amplified the system from pay to play, to fund to forgive and fee to forget. He’s buying off the leadership,” Kennedy said outside the Loop headquarters of the state Democratic Party. […]

Among Kennedy’s major supporters is U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. The Kennedy campaign has paid $26,354 to the congressman’s brother, Marlon Rush, and $17,120 to a son of the congressman, Jeffrey Rush, state election records showed.

* From a Sun-Times video clip of the Kennedy presser

“He’s buying off the leadership. He’d rather have the ward organizations than the “Indivisible” groups. It’s clear he’d rather hang out with Cook County committeemen than with the People’s Choice Coalition. He’d rather side with the leaders than with the people. This type of leadership has no place in the new Illinois. The reality is voters want people-powered leadership not crammed-down politics that’s survived for too long. That needs to change. And I’m running to change it. We want to be with the people interested in social justice, not people interested in pinstripe patronage and government contracts. We want servant leaders not leaders of servants. Our Democratic Party, many of its incumbents have become stifling forces in our state.”

* Um, just a couple of weeks ago, Kennedy criticized Pritzker during a debate for not contributing to black candidates…


Not sure if you’re following this debate or not, but Chris mentioned JB’s low percentage of contributions to African-American candidates.

When JB Pritzker was caught on tape making disparaging comments about African-American leadership, his only line of defense was that, “I’ve supported a lot of candidates over the years who are people of color…”

The fact is, before JB Pritzker launched his campaign for governor, less than 1/4 of 1 percent of JB’s $2.1 million in political contributions was given to African-American candidates running for statewide and local office in Illinois.

Kennedy’s campaign tried to gin up that topic for several days without success. So, now the Kennedy campaign has changed course.

* The push back was rough

Ald. Rod Sawyer, chairman of the City Council Black caucus and a Pritzker supporter, confirms his 6th ward got money from Pritzker, and he hinted he might not campaign hard for Kennedy if he wins the primary, “Now if that Democratic nominee happens to be Kennedy and he’s disparaging us, how’s that gonna work for him? How’s that work?”

Apparently, Kennedy thinks they’ll either forgive and forget by November or he doesn’t need them. He’d be wrong about the second part, so if he does manage to win he’s going to have to embark on his own apology tour after March 20th.

* Sun-Times

Pritzker’s parade of contributions includes $29,500 to Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), chairman of the City Council’s Budget Committee, $27,500 to Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), $16,000 to Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) and $15,000 to Ald. Walter Burnett (27th). […]

The always outspoken [Ald. Carrie Austin] was furious when told of Kennedy’s charge.

“I’ve sat quiet long enough. And I’m not gonna sit and die and let Chris Kennedy slander me. The hell with Chris Kennedy. I’m more than insulted by this so and so. Nobody can buy Carrie. Nobody! J.B. didn’t give me a dime when I endorsed him. Not one dime,” Austin said, her voice rising.

“I hope he don’t get nobody’s vote except for Sen. Emil Jones, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis. If they don’t see that they’re trying to divide the black community, they are fools.” […]

Like Austin, Scott said the $16,000 from Pritzker had nothing to do with his endorsement. But it will help “build an organization” in Scott’s West Side ward that has not existed for decades, the alderman said.

* NBC 5

“The way it works now is in order for committemen to operate, and just to open our doors on Election Day, it costs $10,000,” Alderman Walter Burnett said. “We all need help in order to run elections.”

* Three aldermen, including Ald. Burnett, held a press conference to blast Kennedy and defend Pritzker

* Here’s part of what Ald. Burnett said..

“They can try to pull all the desperate BS stuff that they’re trying to pull up, trying to play the race card, trying to play the Blago thing. It’s all BS. It’s a sign of desperation because they know that they are going to lose. And they know that JB got the right guys working for them and we’re gonna kick their butts. That’s what it’s all about.”

* Ald. Michael Scott Jr. made some harsh accusations about Kennedy’s non-involvement with his ward

“I went through a process of trying to figure out who was going to be the best person for my community and by far that has been JB. JB has been out to my community at least four or five times. I reached out to other candidates to come out and see if they would broach the issues that affect North Lawndale, broach the issues that affect East and West Garfield and I have yet to receive a phone call back from any one of those.”

Scott said he reached out to Kennedy “several times myself,” but Kennedy has “yet to call me back.

“He may call me back now, but now I don’t want the call,” Scott said. “When you’re desperate and things aren’t going your way, you start throwing and slinging mud and see what sticks.”

* Sen. Biss gets the last word

While Kennedy criticized Pritzker for his spending, candidate Daniel Biss attempted to distance himself from the other two candidates.

“There’s the Madigan-Pritzker wing of the Democratic Party, and the progressive-independent wing, which I’m a part of,” he said.


  1. - lake county democrat - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 7:35 am:

    -Nobody can buy Carrie. Nobody!-

    Too bad that doesn’t work both-ways:

  2. - Anonish - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 7:48 am:

    Is the Rush family still on the Kennedy campaign payroll?

  3. - Veil of Ignorance - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 8:00 am:

    I’m already voting Biss, but glad he’s staying out of this one. Nothing good will result.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 8:11 am:

    Call enough people corrupt, you lose too many to win an election.

    But, “buy” all means, make this about a perceived corrupt system.

  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 9:05 am:

    The gold standard of buying pols is ‘do they stay bought’?

  6. - Anon - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    Whose Grandfather told his son he would “buy him an Election but wouldn’t pay for a landside.”
    JB is just taking a page from his book.

  7. - Retired Educator - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    Interesting tactic by Kennedy to get in the good graces of the AA community. State openly they can all be bought, and expect them to support you in a primary and possibly a general election. Someone took the reverse card out of this guys Uno deck.

  8. - LXB - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    If I’m reading this right, the charge is that in the past Pritzker didn’t give enough to black politicians, but now he’s giving too much?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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