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* It’s unusual for a governor to endorse a primary opponent of a sitting (albeit appointed) legislator of his own party, but you dance with the ones what brung you…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday threw his support behind former campaign staffer Margaret Croke over Yoni Pizer and three other candidates in a North Side statehouse primary race that’s forcing some powerful Illinois Democrats to pick sides.
It’s a somewhat rare show of support from Pritzker, who has shied away from making endorsements for state representatives or senators. […]
Pritzker’s endorsement puts him at odds Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is supporting Pizer in the race. Pizer works as a community liaison for U.S. Rep Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and was an early supporter of Lightfoot when she was considered a long-shot candidate for City Hall’s fifth floor. […]
But they’re not the only powerful Democrats taking different sides in the race. Croke’s backers include City Clerk Anna Valencia; state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill; U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; other Pritzker allies and several major organized labor groups. Pizer’s backers include Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago; state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago; and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th).
Croke also has most of organized labor behind her.
* Press release…
Today, Margaret Croke, candidate for Illinois State Representative in the 12th district received the endorsement of Governor JB Pritzker.
“Today I’m proud to endorse Margaret Croke as my home State Representative here in the 12th district. We need leaders in Springfield who have a deep knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing residents and families of our state,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “Margaret has been a leader and activist fighting to protect women’s health and reproductive rights. She is a thoughtful and engaged advocate for early childhood education, college affordability, and more economic opportunities - the kind of leader you and your family can depend on. I’ve known Margaret for years, and I’m grateful for the key role she played in my campaign for governor. Margaret is my choice and the best candidate to represent the people of our great 12th district.”
Croke currently serves as a member of the leadership team at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity where her work includes supporting small business opportunities and job creation.
“I am honored and grateful to receive the support of Governor Pritzker who has provided the leadership and vision needed to help steer our great state through a very challenging time, but much more work remains,” said Margaret Croke. “While I was given an incredible opportunity to join the Governor in this fight as a member of his administration, my skills and passion for this work can be far more impactful representing the residents and families of the 12th district. We need leaders in Springfield who have a depth of knowledge around the issues we must tackle in order to fix our financial challenges while ensuring critical services are provided to our most vulnerable citizens. I offer a level of experience and tenacity that we must demand in our next representative and hope to earn the support of the residents and families of this district to serve as their voice in Springfield.”
Croke is a progressive activist who is committed to stimulating the state’s economy, protecting women’s reproductive rights, and expanding early childhood education. Croke began her political career as a community organizer, standing up against campus sexual assault and supporting women running for office.
In addition to support from Governor Pritzker, Croke has received several endorsements from Democratic elected officials, including Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, City Clerk of Chicago Anna Valencia and State Senator Andy Manar, among others. Croke has also received the endorsement of the Illinois AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation of Labor.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Yoni Pizer responds…
As the first openly gay State Rep. of the 12th District, I’m looking forward to working with the Governor when I get to Springfield on Tuesday to address the challenges facing our communities. From passing much-needed ethics reforms, expanding healthcare, protecting our environment, and ensuring the safety of the LGBTQ+ community, there’s a lot to be done and I’m excited to get to work.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…
State Senator Sara Feigenholtz on Monday endorsed Yoni Pizer in the Democratic primary election for the House seat she held for 24 years, calling Pizer “the best candidate to represent the diverse needs of the 12th District.”
“In the 24 years I proudly served as the State Representative of the 12th District, I have endorsed countless candidates for various public offices. However, endorsing a successor comes with much emotion, weight, and promise,” said Fegenholtz.
“The people of this district need a deeply rooted, longtime resident and advocate for our community and Yoni Pizer is the candidate who checks all of those boxes. His unflinching support of a woman’s right to choose, access to health care, ethics reform and protecting our environment are his top priorities. He has a keen knowledge of small business issues that are core to sustaining the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
“In the years that I have served, I realize how representation matters. Yoni is an openly gay Jewish person who moved to Lakeview with his husband and raised two sons right here in our neighborhood because he felt safe and at home. He is emblematic of the diversity of this district. At a time when hate crimes and antisemitism are on the rise, we need leaders like Yoni fighting for our community in Springfield.”
“I’m grateful to have the endorsement of Sen. Feigenholtz,” said Rep. Pizer. “For 24 years, Sara has represented our community with honest, effective, and progressive leadership,” said Rep. Pizer. “When others wouldn’t stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, Sara stood in solidarity with us. Sara’s been a loud, proud, and clear voice for the Jewish community and has fought back against all forms of hate. I look forward to working with Senator Feigenholtz on the issues that matter most, like protecting the right to choose, passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and ensuring Illinois never becomes a so-called ‘right-to-work’ state. Sen. Feigenholz and I both know that representation of our communities is critically important now more than ever. I look forward to following in her footsteps and working alongside her in Springfield.”
Sen. Feigenholz held the 12th District State Representative seat until last month, when she was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. John Cullerton. Democratic Party committee members then voted to appoint Pizer to the 12th District seat for which he is also a candidate in the March 17 Democratic primary election.
In addition to serving as Community Liaison for Congressman Quigley for the past five years, and running two small businesses, Pizer has been a grassroots organizer for Democratic presidential candidates for several decades. Pizer lives with his husband, Brad Lippitz, in East Lakeview, where they have raised their two sons. Pizer is the first openly LGBTQ+ representative of Illinois’ 12th state house District, which includes the Gold Coast, Near North, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and Buena Park neighborhoods.