Progressives endorse math teacher over venture capitalist for Illinois governor

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Our Revolution Illinois, the local chapter of the national organization that grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, has endorsed State Sen. Daniel Biss in the gubernatorial race.

Biss, a former mathematics professor at the University of Chicago, has represented the 9th District in the Illinois Senate since 2013, and previously served in the state House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013.

The endorsement follows last week’s first televised debate between the Democratic candidates, which was notable for some testy exchanges between Biss and venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker. Progressives’ endorsement of Biss is partly about antipathy towards Pritzker over the vast amounts of money he is giving to his own campaign.

Pritzker has already pumped $42 million of his own money into the race, while most of Biss’s financial support has come from individual contributions. Biss has raised $3.1 million.

In a press release, Our Revolution Illinois said there has been a growing surge of support for Biss, in what it describes as a people-powered campaign. State Rep. Litesa Wallace of Rockford is running for lieutenant governor on the same ticket.

“Daniel Biss and Litesa Wallace will bring fairness, reform, and middle-class values to Springfield,” said Our Revolution Illinois Chairman Clem Balanoff. “For the first time in many years, working men and women have a true voice and champion in our next governor and lieutenant governor.”

The endorsement follows a statewide poll of 40,000 progressives that revealed “overwhelming” support for Biss, and 66 percent of Illinois members of the MoveOn.org Political Action Committee voting to endorse Biss. Biss and businessman Chris Kennedy are Pritzker’s main Democratic challengers.

Our Revolution Illinois has also cited Biss’s policy positions as a reason for its support.

“Daniel has been a longtime champion of increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” said Balanoff. “He has been a longtime supporter of Medicare-for-All, because he understand that healthcare is a right and not a privilege. He has been a leader in the fight for education funding, including free tuition at public colleges and universities. And Daniel understands the need to get the state’s financial house in order by changing the tax system so that those who can most afford it will pay their fair share.”

Correction: Biss is currently serving in the Illinois Senate, not the House, as this article previously stated. We regret the error.

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