Some believe Illinois Gov. Pritzker will run for president
CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker will deliver a speech this weekend at the state Democratic convention in New Hampshire.
"I saw him give a speech last week on Navy Pier. It's clear, I think, that he's thinking about running for president," said Pat Brady, former chariman of the Illinois Republican Party.
Speaking in New Hampshire is a highly unusual move just a week-and-a-half before Illinois’ own primary election, FOX 32's political editor Mike Flannery said.
A spokeswoman for the governor says New Hampshire Democrats invited him, and that he's proud to support candidates there who are pro-choice on abortion.
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Pritzker himself does not face a primary opponent on June 28, but the half-dozen Republicans vying to face him in the fall are having fun with his impending visit to a state important to candidates for president.
"Pritzker wants to run for president? Look at his performance at home," said tech entrepreneur Jesse Sullivan. "We're losing businesses to better run states."
Sullivan sounded a theme that many Republicans echoed Tuesday — that Pritzker should stay home and keep more Illinois corporations from joining Caterpillar and Boeing in heading for the exit here.
Gov. Pritzker has spent millions of dollars to influence the Republican primary for governor to defeat Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and boost State Sen. Darren Bailey. But Bailey's not acting very grateful, mocking Pritzker’s upcoming speech in New Hampshire as an overreach.
"It's certainly within his realm to be looking at national politics and leaving the destruction of Illinois behind," Bailey said.
A spokeswoman for Pritzker said he'll be in Washington, D.C., Friday for a meeting where he and Mayor Lori Lightfoot will urge that the 2024 Democratic National Convention be held in Chicago. Pritzker then plans to publicly praise pro-abortion rights Democratic candidates in Maine and New Hampshire, which is traditionally where America’s first presidential primary is held every four years.
But rather than explore a possible bid for the White House, Pritzker's spokeswoman said: "The governor is supporting and electing Democratic governors, given his belief that Democratic governors in the post-Roe era are the last line of defense to defend reproductive rights."
A longtime Democratic consultant in Chicago considers a Pritzker run for the White House in 2024 a "real longshot." But he does believe the governor is taking a look at it.
While several people who are close to Pritzker call presidential speculation premature and not where the governor's currently going, others think he's at least dipping his toe into the Democratic contention.
"You saw over the last couple of days that the national political folks were signaling, or at least hand signaling, that Joe Biden may not be the guy. And if you're the governor of a state like Illinois — as big a state as it is, as important as it is — and you believe as the governor does, I think, that he's got a liberal record he can run on — he's gonna run," Brady said.
Nonetheless, it is possible this fall that Pritzker will face a real dog fight depending on who emerges from the Republican primary on June 28, and also how things look both nationally and locally in the fall — it could be a close contest for reelection.