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Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 13, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I interviewed Lt. Gov. Stratton in mid-June about her very first fundraiser since being elected statewide. We also talked about her future plans. Politico did a story about it over the break

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton is fundraising, though she’s not committing to running for any particular office.

In a recent interview with your Playbook host, Stratton didn’t rule out a future run for office, adding she’s only focused on the job she already has.

As lieutenant governor, Stratton would be a likely candidate to run for the state’s top job should Gov. JB Pritzker not seek a third term in 2026.

For now: Stratton is making moves to build up her campaign fund, which has been virtually empty since she left the Illinois General Assembly to join Pritzker’s 2018 campaign.

The big kahuna: Fred Eyechaner, who heads Newsweb Corp. and is a national Democratic megadonor, recently plunked $6,900 on Stratton, according to filings with the State Board of Elections. He’s one of a dozen big donors to donate to Stratton’s political campaign fund in recent weeks.

I dunno about governor. If Pritzker doesn’t run for a third term, I’d assume Alexi Giannoulias, Susana Mendoza and others will be elbowing hard. We’ll see, but some prime down-ballot spots could open up.

And, of course, we don’t yet know what Pritzker’s plans are. I mentioned in my own piece that he was seen by some as a bit of a lame duck and wound up getting a blistering earful for broaching that topic. Heh. Won’t be the last time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

By the way, you’ve probably noticed by now that no statewide offices are on the ballot next year. The last time I remember this happening was 2000. It was so dead around here that I went to Europe for two months during the summer of 1999 and then to Cuba with Gov. George Ryan and several others (no blog duties back then). [A commenter correctly points out that there was no statewide election in 2012. Somehow, I got by.]

* The Question: I know it’s very early and we don’t even know what the field will look like, but it’s summer and there’s not a heck of a lot going on right now, so what office would you recommend LG Stratton pursue in 2026? Explain.


  1. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    U.S. Senate, if Durbin decides not to run again.

  2. - Save Ferris - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    Durbin’s seat. Must keep Alexi away from being able to do real damage.

  3. - Dan Johnson - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    Here’s my prediction. Pritzker/Stratton run for a third term in 2026, despite an open seat in 2028 for President (as Biden is term limited).

    The Governor is good at this. I predict he continues this form of public service for a third term (at least).

  4. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    Governor Pritzker is doing a good overall job. In a contested primary Lt. Governor Stratton would be defending all of the things that they haven’t done well.

    It’s a lot easier to run on one’s record when they’re running against Darren Bailey.

  5. - Dan Johnson - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:44 am:

    (And so I think the LG stays on the ticket — she is good at it too — I realize that’s what the question is about)

  6. - vern - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:47 am:

    Hopefully Durbin doesn’t run, she’d be a huge improvement in the Senate.

    If Durbin for some reason doesn’t retire, Danny Davis’ seat in Congress probably makes the next most sense. He most likely survives his multi-way primary this time, but he’s gotta hang it up sooner or later.

    Either way, DC is a better option than whatever musical chairs game happens in Springfield. It would benefit her career and she’d be a big improvement over our current representation. Win-win.

  7. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:49 am:

    =Pritzker/Stratton run for a third term in 2026=

    The path you are on is always the most likely to be the one you remain on.

    If she needed to run for a statewide office - I’d suggest 2. I think she would be excellent as a US Senator replacement for Durbin. And Illinois would be well served by having 2 women holding those offices.

    I feel that Mendoza will certainly be running for Governor if she wants it and I’d stay away from her overall popularity in that race. And while not that office I could see her excelling at Treasurer.

  8. - Hannibal Lecter - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    Cook County Board President. I don’t believe that Preckwinkle will run again and I think Stratton would be a stronger candidate than those currently involved in County Government.

  9. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:56 am:

    I was going to say U.S. Senate - but then decided to agree with Hannibal Lecter. The current Cook County Board President sees her role as a political kingmaker role, not so much actually improving Cook County government.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 11:57 am:

    Bob Kustra comes to mind when thinking of LGs and seemingly “dead end” options.

    Someone needs to take on Durbin, it’s not like you can say Durbin and Pritzker are “aligned” or at the least neutral to their interests, be a fun proxy fight, I mean for Pritzker, if Durbin sought to be more irrelevant both in the Senate and here in Illinois…

    Makes Alexi’s lil plan seem “adorable” too… Pritzker rolls into a 3rd term but proxy runs with Stratton for Senate?

    Lots more “belly time” and wet t-shirts for Alexi, no?

    Stratton took down Dunkin in a huge proxy thought, symbolically became a strong partner for Pritzker on his ticket, why not have a consolidation with a Senate seat?

  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:00 pm:

    To be crystal clear, besting Dunkin, Rauner’s wedge, and being that symbol of Rauner resistance was my imagery

  12. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:08 pm:

    It all depends on what JB does. If he runs again, she should stick with him. Keep running that play until ILGOP shows they can stop it.

    If he doesn’t, she ought to run for Governor. Yeah, it’ll be crowded primary, but she’d start out with a natural base (the Chicago African American community) as strong as anyone’s.

  13. - Suburbanon - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:16 pm:

    OW - If I remember right, Kustra found another calling in education and eventually served as President of Boise State University for many years. Not a bad rebound.

    Now I’m not suggesting Stratton is going to lose a run for office anytime soon but quality people do tend to land on their feet and do very well after they leave the limelight.

    Others however, well, they decide to challenge US Rep. Bost.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Kustra found another calling===

    I was merely referencing the dead end-ness that is LG.

    That’s it.

    ===quality people do tend to land on their feet and do very well after they leave the limelight.===

    Again, Kustra’s choice to leave a job, (then Edgar’s health…) I don’t think I made any inference towards Kustra in any manner of a “type” of person he is/was, thanks.

  15. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    Stratton seems to be doing a fine job but LG is a quasi-ceremonial office…

    “leading the Justice, Equity, Opportunity Initiative, chairing the Illinois Council on Women/Girls, the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, the Military Economic Development Council and the Illinois River Coordinating Council”

    If she makes the jump to higher office, it won’t be based on results as LG, she will have to get positive exposure in the media and political circles and boost her favorability with voters quickly.

    I see her sticking by JB for a third term.

  16. - Amalia - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    I like that County Board idea. I think she’d be great a running it. Stratton has a nice way of infusing her personality into issues that is very appealing. and being quite everyday in an authentic way. great social media. personal, not too often, smart, open. actually I think about her for Vice President. Wish she was there now.

  17. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 12:52 pm:

    One wild card is if Pritzker opts to pursue another position (cabinet post or Senate seat) and leaves office. Taking off tin foil hat now, but that is a variable.

    If Pritzker does run for a third term, I don’t see her staying on the ticket. Serving in that role for 12 years would make it much more challenging to pursue other offices in the future because of the limited responsibilities of the LG position. She’ll need to take the risk to pursue something on her own terms.

  18. - Cromulent M. Biggens - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 1:54 pm:

    Trivial point, but what statewide election was on the ballot in 2012? I didn’t see one on the state board of elections page.

  19. - Cromulent M. Biggens - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    Ugh. I meant, of course, What statewide *office* was on the ballot in 2012? My apologies for my confusion.

  20. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:00 pm:

    If Durbin doesn’t run again, I think Frerichs is lining up support for the Senate seat, opening up the Treasurer’s office. That would be a good office for Stratton to work on economic justice policies. I wouldn’t want to lose Durbin’s seniority, but if he doesn’t run I see that chain reaction as possible.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:04 pm:

    ===Frerichs is lining up support for the Senate seat===

    Frerichs could beat Stratton in a primary where Pritzker likely would support Stratton?


    Frerichs is now behind Alexi in actual relevance, so Stratton contemplating anything that might secure Pritzker help leaves Frerichs where he has been… parked… but still tall.

  22. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    Frerichs has been statewide for many years, building statewide for many years. He’s capable of winning a primary, regardless of endorsements.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===He’s capable of winning a primary, regardless of endorsements.===

    “Sure, Jan”

    Frerichs could take on a Pritzker endorsed Stratton.

    Even Frerich’s own hubris can’t be that far out of sorts, and Frerichs beating Alexi? Labor is gonna choose Frerichs over Alexi?

    I grant you, Frerichs is tall, but it’s a tall order to think a Pritzker supported Stratton is beatable.

  24. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    Frerichs has been building political and public support in 102 counties for many, many years. His list of endorsements will be “tall”. Don’t make the flawed assumption that he wouldn’t have deep political support statewide.

  25. - John Lopez - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:24 pm:

    === U.S. Senate, if Durbin decides not to run again ===

    Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and his $12.4 million (thru 3/31) eyeing that U.S. Senate seat in 2026.

    Doubtful Senator Durbin seeks reelection in his 80s.

    Possibly Congresswoman Lauren Underwood who appears to be trying to build support among Progressives by not currently endorsing Congressman Bill Foster’s 2024 reelection campaign given Naperville progressive Qasim Rashid making serious bid to primary Foster.

    Congresswoman Delia Ramirez also not endorsing Foster.

    Being elected to D.C. not in LG Stratton’s future.

  26. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    Your assumption that Frerichs won’t have a “tall” of endorsements is problematic. He’s been building political support statewide for several years, from Cairo to Chicago.
    Frerichs could solidify downstate asap while he’s already building support in the collars and the city.

  27. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    “I wouldn’t want to lose Durbin’s seniority”

    Illinois is not getting much from that seniority, and he’s burned about every bridge he could find here in Illinois with his base and party. We need a real leader on the national stage.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===He’s been building political support statewide for several years, from Cairo to Chicago.===

    Frerichs is not a player of the likes of Alexi or Stratton (if Stratton has Pritzker’s help and nod)

    Frerichs is third tier, and that me being polite.

    Let’s not forget Raja isn’t going away any time soon.

    The air must be quite thin thinking Frerichs can compete in a primary with any of those listed, that Frerichs will be chosen over those others?

    This is in the realm of Dan Rutherford delusional.

    The question to Stratton, Senate makes sense if she can get Pritzker to support, soup to nuts, and Frerichs thinking there’s an opening might only help Stratton if Raja enters, or others enter,

    In truth, Stratton’s connection to Pritzker gives her more options than Frerichs, who’s behind Alexi, and counties don’t vote.

  29. - Ryder - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 2:59 pm:

    I could see a future Giannoulias run for Governor…..but Mendoza is a stretch…..I can see all the negative commercials now with her links to Burke and Madigan. All the same….Pritzker will go 4 more.

  30. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Again, talk to the party infrastructure — county chairs, state central committeewoman, activists, labor — and you’ll find that Frerichs is well positioned. Not theory — fact.

    His constant visibility in Cook County, statewide good will cultivated from thousands of visits and proven political pedigree position him to “stand tall” in a multi-candidate field.

  31. - This - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    One more time for good measure.

    Talk to the party infrastructure — activists, chairs, labor, state central committee — and you’ll find Frerichs is positioned well for a Senate primary / general.

    He wraps up downstate asap, allowing him to focus on the collars and the city.

    In a multi-candidate field, my money’s on Frerichs “standing tall” and taking it.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===Frerichs is well positioned.===

    Oldest line in politics;

    “I like em, but who are they running against?”

    It’s fun you think that part is worth ignoring, because that question is not Frerichs’ friend…

    Plus, if I recall Frerichs’ lil “boo-boo” about raising taxes that helped sink the Fair Tax vote, payback would be tasty for some

  33. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:12 pm:

    ===One more time for good measure.===


    “I like em, but who are they running against?”

    If Stratton has Pritzker, I mean… I’d think even Raja would take some pause, Alexi might wait out Pritzker for that matter…

  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===If Stratton has Pritzker===

    That if word is carrying a lot of weight in your sentence.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:18 pm:

    ===if word is carrying a lot of weight===

    I thought this was fun summer speculation?


    Would be interesting to see Stratton go out in her own then, without Pritzker, and make a run similar to Senate or wait out another statewide office.

    The bigger news would be Stratton going out on her own, which I’d probably discourage

  36. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 3:33 pm:

    =Don’t make the flawed assumption that he wouldn’t have deep political support statewide.=

    Ok, now do defending taxing retirement income

  37. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 4:49 pm:

    Thinking she would be a formidable candidate for Senator or Governor.
    As the Senate race is coming up and assuming Senator Durbin won’t run, I would rather see a Democrat that is not in the circle of the Pritzker/Madigan faction of the party.
    Thinking someone like Chris Kennedy would be a solid winner in a general election, but no doubt Lt. Gov. would be a strong candidate in a democratic senate primary.

  38. - flea - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 5:08 pm:

    I am vwery favorble about her and will show support in whchever pursuit she chooses. She’s the real deal.

  39. - B Team - Thursday, Jul 13, 23 @ 6:24 pm:

    Comptroller or Congress if these offices open up.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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