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Two of Pritzker’s most important endorsements so far

Monday, Dec 11, 2017

* This happened before Houlihan’s boss US Sen. Richard Durbin joined with US Sen. Tammy Duckworth to formally endorsed Pritzker on Friday

At a meeting of Sangamon County Democrats last week, BILL HOULIHAN, who is an elected member of the Democratic State Central Committee, said he wanted gubernatorial candidate DANIEL BISS of Evanston to quit giving fodder to Republicans as he criticizes a rival.

“Dan Biss has been sending out some emails that I think are hurtful to the Democratic Party and J.B. PRITZKER, and I think we need to shut that down as soon as possible,” Houlihan said. […]

The day Houlihan spoke, Biss had tweeted about Pritzker, asking what was the billionaire’s “favorite offshore trust fund.” It was retweeted by WILLIAM ALLISON, the Rauner campaign communications director.

Houlihan also said that he contacted Biss weeks earlier, when Biss criticized Pritzker for taking a charter flight to Mount Vernon to attend the NAACP state convention after leaving a Sierra Club event in Chicago.

Houlihan said it’s a big state, and a candidate for governor shouldn’t be criticized for campaigning downstate.

“If he wants to charter a plane to come to Springfield two or three days a week, I want J.B. Pritzker in this town helping Democrats,” Houlihan said, encouraging other Democrats to tell Biss to “take that BS down.”

* From a story about that Friday endorsement

Durbin who has received $25,000 in contributions from Pritzker addressed concerns that the candidate’s support in the past had influenced his decision to endorse him.

“I value every donation, but we raise a lot of money to run for public office, and any individual isn’t buying my endorsement,” he said.

Durbin isn’t gonna be bought and bring his fellow US Senator along for the ride over a measly $25K. Any Democrat who tries to press that case is gonna look like a fool.

* Mary Ann Ahern called the Durbin/Duckworth endorsements “huge” the other day, and she was absolutely right. These are huge.

The two Senators are pretty darned popular in the Democratic Party, so attacking them for backing Pritzker will be nearly impossible for Kennedy and Biss. The endorsements also give everybody else who has already endorsed Pritzker some political cover.

* Chris Kennedy, for his part, has been saying stuff like this for weeks

“I think people made commitments early because they were told to, not because they chose to. That’s all the difference right there,” Kennedy told POLITICO after a recent campaign event. “I think there is an attempt to cram down democracy, where the head of the party is choosing the next governor. I think that’s the great parallel of what happened in the last [presidential] election, and it’s bad for the state. I don’t think the primary voter is going to put up with that.”

He can’t credibly say that about Durbin and Duckworth. And, frankly, it would hurt him politically if he tried to do it. Same for Biss.

More importantly, though, Houlihan’s speech suggests that Durbin himself might soon step up to say the same sort of thing to Kennedy and Biss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      

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