By Rick Pearson and Mike Riopell
Former Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton campaigned in Chicago on Monday for governor candidate J.B. Pritzker, a major supporter of her failed efforts to get to the White House.
Clinton formally endorsed Pritzker during a Chicago visit in April after he won the Democratic primary by a wide margin. On Monday she joined him at a roundtable event highlighting social service issues. Pritzker frequently criticizes Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for overseeing a two-year budget impasse that hit social service providers that depend on state money.
Pritzker and Clinton spoke with several high school-age girls about leadership at EvolveHer, a shared working space in River North.
Pritzker was a longtime supporter of Clinton's presidential bids, including her 2008 effort to win the Democratic nomination against home-state U.S. Sen. Barack Obama. He and his wife, Mary Kay, contributed at least $14.7 million to two super political action committees supporting her unsuccessful 2016 White House bid, federal records show.
Pritzker's backing of Clinton in 2008 created some family friction as he served as a national co-chair of her campaign. Pritzker's sister, Penny, backed Obama's 2008 presidential bid and later became his commerce secretary.
Nevertheless, Obama in August formally endorsed Pritzker's bid, saying in a 90-second video: "I know J.B. I trust J.B. And that's who he is, someone who is always thinking about how he can make a difference."
In the 2016 election, Clinton defeated President Donald Trump in Illinois by 17 percentage points. She won all but McHenry of the state's traditionally Republican-leaning collar counties, giving Democrats hope they can capture additional state legislative seats as well as flip GOP seats in Congress.
Rauner, meanwhile, released a new ad hitting Pritzker over taxes and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. It features two puppets resembling the balcony-dwelling hecklers Statler and Waldorf from "The Muppet Show."
"J.B. Pritzker, the guy's no dummy," one puppet says in the spot.
"But he is Mike Madigan's puppet," the other replies.
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