Illinois GOP calls Madigan-Pritzker alliance a 'corrupt scheme'
The Illinois Republican Party has called collaboration between gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker and established political powerhouse Michael Madigan aimed at securing the Democratic primary – and ultimately governorship of the state – nothing more than a “corrupt scheme.”
A recent GOP release said House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Democrat gubernatorial candidate and billionaire Pritzker are trading support for campaign contributions in an effort to forward each other’s political goals, resulting in tax hikes, personal gain and expansion of “their Chicago Political Machine.”
“Pritzker needs Madigan's support to get through the primary and Madigan needs Pritzker's money to tighten his grip on power and return Illinois to a one-party state before the next round of redistricting,” the release said.
Citing Federal Election Commission documents, the GOP accuses Pritzker of directing campaign funds to Madigan’s “front groups” while the House speaker and chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party “breaks legs behind the scenes to help Pritzker.”
The GOP referred to a News-Gazette editorial that said while Madigan has made no official endorsement of Pritzker, there is “common knowledge” that this is the case.
The editorial said Madigan hopes the billionaire’s family fortune will lead to an overwhelming victory, allowing him free rein to “gerrymander state legislative districts after the 2020 census.”
Other than saying he won’t be critical of party leaders like Madigan and Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, Pritzker declined further comment.
Six other Democrats are vying for the same position – two of which, state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and businessman Chris Kennedy, are verbal about the arrangement.
Biss, while soliciting votes from the Bernie Sanders camp, proudly distances himself from Madigan.
He considers Pritzker a “Madigan’s guy.”
Kennedy, nephew to President John F. Kennedy, has been critical of Madigan not only as a force in the nomination process, but who, as a private attorney, profits from a “rigged” property tax system that “benefits the well-connected and political insiders at the expense of homeowners, communities of color and working families."
Pritzker did not comment to the News-Gazette other than saying he won’t be critical of party leaders like Madigan and Berrios.
While Pritzker seems to hold all the cards, things can change over the four months remaining in the campaign.
Democrats may be influenced by the Kennedy family name, according to the News Gazette, and he is wealthy – but not as rich as Pritzker. Kennedy’s television and radio campaigns are still in the early stages and when optimized could be significant.
Ultimately, the News Gazette said it is the voters of Illinois that will have the final say.
“And they have shown in the past that they are capable of thinking for themselves.”