Pritzker, 58, is a member of one of the world’s wealthiest families, with a net worth of $3.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Democrat has been in the middle of recent spats with DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, and is a long-running nemesis of Citadel founder and GOP mega-donor Ken Griffin, who has said he’d back a DeSantis bid for president in 2024.
DeSantis, who visited Illinois this week, has criticized Chicago’s crime under Pritzker’s watch. Pritzker shot back, saying that DeSantis is trying to lower public education standards by banning the teaching of racial history.
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Pritzker also said Griffin moved his financial empire headquarters to Miami from Chicago last year out of “embarrassment” after spending $50 million trying to defeat him in the gubernatorial race by backing Richard Irvin, the mayor of Aurora, Illinois.
“That person lost badly in the Republican primary,” Pritzker said in an interview Thursday with Bloomberg TV.
Trading barbs with prominent Republicans sets up Pritzker for national political attention.
Pritzker, who was re-elected as Illinois governor in 2022, said he has been approached about potentially running for president, but declined to give any details about those discussions. He said he’s happy as governor, intends to serve the rest of his term and will back Biden this cycle.
Still, he’s raised his national profile by visiting New Hampshire and Florida, and has taken stances on expanding abortion access and banning assault weapons, stoking speculation that he has lofty ambitions beyond the Illinois statehouse in Springfield.
Regardless, the billionaire’s wealth promises to play a role in the 2024 race.
He poured more than $300 million of his own money into his two successful bids for governor. He spent about $51 million for a failed campaign to change Illinois’s flat income-tax structure to one that increases taxes on the rich.
Outside of Illinois, Pritzker and his wife have donated more than $39 million since 2011, according to campaign finance disclosures. Topping the list of recipients is Priorities USA Action, the super-PAC that’s supported Democratic presidential nominees since it was launched in 2011.
The Pritzkers have also given $2 million to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 general election campaign and $1.4 million to back Biden in 2020.
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February 26, 2023 at 01:55PM