* I made this same, basic argument earlier this week with subscribers…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s political arm has donated $57,800 to Margaret Croke’s campaign for the 12th District state House seat, and separately, he and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, have each donated $5,800 to Croke.
Sure, this ratchets up the contest between Croke, a leader in the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Jonathan “Yoni” Pizer, who was appointed a few weeks ago by party bosses to fill the seat. But it also ramps up the tension between Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s endorsed Pizer and has put $2,500 toward his campaign.
Loyalty and maybe some pride are guiding the state’s two top Democrats. Pritzker wants his employee — who also worked on his campaign — to succeed. And Lightfoot is doing what she can to help Pizer, who was a campaign donor.
Their political jousting raises questions about whether a mayor or governor should get involved in contested primaries at all. By backing neophyte candidates in a contested race, Pritzker and Lightfoot are taking a fair amount of political risk by putting their names on the line. After all, someone has to walk away the loser.
Pritzker campaign spokesman Quentin Fulks recently told Playbook: “The governor will not be making any contributions to anyone in the Illinois state legislature — House or Senate — during the session.” But supporting a challenger in a contested race is OK.
A loss may not mean so much this time, but lose a few races and one could be seen as a paper tiger.
* The Question: Should the governor and the mayor be involving themselves in legislative primaries? Please make sure to explain your answer.