Obama endorses Pritzker, Stratton, in gubernatorial race


(Daily file photo by Colin Boyle)

J.B. Pritzker speaks at an event. The billionaire businessman received an endorsement from former president Barack Obama.

Kristina Karisch, Summer Web Editor

Former president Barack Obama has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and his running mate Juliana Stratton ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Obama tweeted out a list of endorsements on Wednesday, expressing his support for candidates in a number of states, in both statewide and national elections. It marks the first time that the former president has made endorsements for the midterms.

In addition to Pritzker and three candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Obama also endorsed Kwame Raoul, who is running for Illinois attorney general. Raoul has occupied Obama’s former State Senate seat — for the 13th District — since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

He said he was “confident” that the candidates will “strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law.”

“Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates — leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama said in the tweet.

Pritzker is facing off against Gov. Bruce Rauner in the November election. Rauner, a Republican who has been deeply unpopular in Illinois due in part to the state’s two-year lack of a budget.

Both Pritzker, a businessman and graduate of Northwestern’s School of Law, and Rauner are both spending millions during this election cycle. The Chicago Tribune reported in late July that Pritzker had spent nearly $11 million on advertising in recent months, compared to almost $5 million for Rauner.

Pritzker thanked Obama for his endorsement with his own series of tweets, telling the former president that he “has been a source of hope to all Americans, especially Illinoisans who have followed him his entire career.”

“His endorsement confirms his belief in our mission: that we are committed to fighting for the working families of Illinois and that we will get Springfield back on their side again,” Pritzker said in the tweet.

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch