Illinois Governor's Race Haunted by 2016 Presidential Primary

December 8, 2017

An inevitable candidate. Accusations of a rigged primary. Early commitments from organized labor.

The Illinois Democratic primary for governor sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential primary campaign — which didn’t end up well for the party.

Opponents of billionaire J.B. Pritzker, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in Illinois, are now using the Clinton example in an effort to level the field, warning that the party risks blowing a prime opportunity to knock off a vulnerable Republican governor by repeating the same mistakes it made in 2016.

Evoking Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pritzker’s top competitors — Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and state Sen. Daniel Biss, a Harvard-educated mathematician — say they’ve been elbowed out at every turn by party insiders. They say the Democratic establishment in one of the nation’s biggest blue states has greased the skids for an untested candidate, simply because he has bottomless pockets.

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