Who Was The Most Important Person in Illinois Politics in 2022?

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As we look back on the high stakes political year in Illinois, The Illinoize asked a bipartisan group of politicians, consultants, and journalists who the most important person in Illinois politics was in 2022.

Governor JB Pritzker and outgoing Congressman Adam Kinzinger received the most nominations. Here were some of the responses we received:

Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)- Sen. Darren Bailey

“The primary was about him. The general election was about him. The cycle was defined by him.”

Former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady- Congressman Adam Kinzinger

“Courage used to be rewarded in politics.”

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski- Sen. Scott Bennett

“Most personal to me was my late friend, State Senator Scott Bennett. Scott led with kindness, humor, and compassion, and his passing reminds us all to do the most good possible with the time we have here. I’m inspired to lead by his example in my public service.”

Jim Dey, Champaign News-Gazette columnist- JB Pritzker

“Whether one likes or dislikes Gov. Pritzker, he’s clearly the big man in Illinois, at least for now. He won a resounding re-election victory, albeit against weak opposition. He gets what he wants, or says he wants, from the Democratic legislature. He’s so satisfied with his accomplishments that he’s flirting with running for president. His public agenda reflects that status, including his emphatically leftist political platform. He’s on a huge roll and he knows it.”

RTA Chairman and former Sen. Kirk Dillard- JB Pritzker

“He set the tone early delivering money to help define Darren Bailey and effectively outlined the Democrats’ themes against the GOP up and down the statewide ticket, including the Supreme Court. It sure helps to pick your opponent, even if it is the other party’s primary!”

Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton)- Campaign Staff

“They are, by far, the most important people in Illinois politics. Without dedicated staff who pour their heart and soul into races, with no promise of having a job after the election is over, we candidates would be lost and would surely make many more devastating mistakes and gaffes. They want the wins as much as we do and work extremely hard, sometimes harder than the candidate does. [For me] in this election are Stephen Stewart, Jayme Siemer, and Deb Detmers. I’m forever grateful to them and many others.”

Fmr. Congressman Bill Enyart- JB Pritzker and Congressman Adam Kinzinger

“Pritzker for his blowout win and massive improvement of the state’s financial position. Kinzinger for his courageous stand for democracy when almost every other national Republican ran for cover.”

Paul Lisnek, WGN-TV Political Analyst- Congressman Adam Kinzinger

“He stayed true to conservative values, showed moral courage knowing he would be excommunicated by his party and constituents in the name of patriotism.”

Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian)- Ken Griffin

“He messed around in the Republican primary and then pulled the ripcord before it was even over, leaving us all high and dry. I hope we’ve all learned that ‘billionaire politics’ has failed.”

Scott Reeder, columnist, Illinois Times- Supreme Court Justice Mary K. O’Brien

“She personifies the depth of the Democratic Party’s bench. She was able to win a toss-up district that Democrats wanted but didn’t need.”

Fmr. Rep. Ron Sandack- JB Pritzker

“It’s Pritzker, unfortunately. His enormous personal expenditures in the Republican gubernatorial primary made it that he basically picked his general election opponent who he dispatched easily with his even more massive personal expenditures in the general election. With is fast fortune, he seemingly owns Illinois politics from both sides of the political divide.”

Fmr. Congressman John Shimkus- JB Pritzker

“With the caveat that I supported Mayor Richard Irvin in the Republican primary and voted for Senator Darren Bailey for governor in the general election, without a doubt it was Governor Pritzker. First, he spent a lot of personal money in the Republican primary to get a weaker opponent in Bailey. Of course, his willing accomplice was the Democratic Governors’ Association. He also used his personal wealth to support local Democratic organizations and candidates. He signed what many consider the most gerrymandered congressional map [in state history], leading to the loss of two Republican members of Congrss. He also solidified Democrat representation in the General Assembly. All this, I view as negative.”

Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley)- Mike Zolnerowicz, GOP consultant

“The result of his failed attempt to orchestrate the Governor’s race led to chaos in the election that eventually cost us two Supreme Court seats, at least two congressional seats, and numerous legislative seats. And I’m sure it was one of the deciding factors in Ken Griffin’s move [to Florida] as well.”

Craig Wall, ABC 7 Political Reporter- JB Pritzker

“Pritzker used his personal fortune to help Darren Bailey win the Republican nomination, and then to secure his own reelection. He wielded his money and influence to get Lisa Hernandez, his candidate, elected chair of the Democratic Party, further solidifying his status as the head of the party. He also helped get even more Democrats elected across the state, pushing the state so blue that Republicans are struggling to have relevancy. For these reasons, Governor JB Pritzker was the most important person in Illinois politics in 2022.”

Fmr. Rep. Litesa Wallace- Congresswoman Robin Kelly

“Despite no longer being chare of the Democratic Party of Illinois, she and [former Executive Director] Abby Witt, amid the task of rebranding the party as more inclusive, laid a foundation that would go on to deliver an unprecedented supermajority in the Illinois House and maintain a strong Democratic delegation in Congress, despite the loss of a congressional seat, in the general election.”

Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford)- Speaker Chris Welch

“He exceeded expectations when it came to supporting his incumbent members for re-election, bringing new members in and helping our Supreme Court candidates to be elected as well.”

Ino Saves New

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December 20, 2022 at 03:39PM

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