Pritzker wins Illinois gubernatorial race


Designed by Trinity Collins

Data from The New York Times

Mac Stone, News & Copy Editor

Pritzker knocks off incumbent Rauner, Conservative Sam McCann and Libertarian Kash Jackson in IL gubernatorial race.

In what truly was a battle of the billionaires, Democrat JB Pritzker defeated GOP incumbent Bruce Rauner after Rauner conceded in the Illinois gubernatorial election, ushering in a new era with Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton in office.

“There is a special faith in the future, a light that burns in people that know both the agony in the hill and the freedom of the hilltop,” Pritzker said in his victory speech. “As your governor, I want to voice that light high and let it show the way.”

Shortly before 8 p.m., Rauner took to the stage at the Drake Hotel to recognize Pritzker’s victory, thanking his supporters and calling for unity, lending a large acknowledgement to veterans, law enforcement officers and teachers in particular.

“With the hard work of many dedicated public servants, many of whom are here tonight, we have made significant progress,” Rauner said. “We laid the foundation to make Illinois the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.”

The win comes just weeks after both Pritzker and Rauner released their 2017 tax returns, in which they reported a total income for that year of $41.13 million and $52.98 million, respectively.

“I think the incredible wealth of both candidates can be problematic because personal wealth can affect how one chooses to perceive the government’s relationship to the economy,” English teacher Angela Sangha-Gadsden said.

Additionally, Pritzker has shattered records, spending nearly $136 million on campaigning, while Rauner has spent nearly $72 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Although wealth allows for candidates to be super visible, I think candidates can also garner huge support by having a proven track record, addressing key concerns in campaign speeches… and addressing the concerns of those who have been historically hurt and disenfranchised due to laws, policies, and broken promises,” Sangha-Gadsden said.

The victory for Pritzker does not come without controversy, however. Just last month, 10 Pritzker campaign workers filed a federal lawsuit against Prtizker, accusing him of running a campaign that is “a cesspool of racial discrimination and harrassment,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I don’t think he represents people of color in their communities very well,” sophomore Anna Grant-Bolton said.

The 10 campaign workers argued that Pritzker bolstered racial discrimination by reserving more desirable jobs for white staffers. They are seeking multiple campaign reforms, as well as $7.5 million to settle the case.

That being said, Rauner was not free of controversy himself. In September 2017, Rauner signed a controversial abortion bill into law that expanded on taxpayer-subsidized abortions, angering other conservative lawmakers.

“What [Pritzker] stands for is contrary to the values me and most other conservatives hold,” senior Ian McCall said in a recent interview with The Evanstonian. “But on the other hand, Rauner did not do what he promised when he was elected, as he increased income taxes and he signed a bill that allows tax funds to pay for abortions. Both of these make him very unpopular with me and others who might otherwise be his base.”

In addition to that controversy, Rauner was under investigation by Attorney General Lisa Madigan for his administration’s response to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a veterans home that left more than a dozen veterans dead over several years, according to the Chicago Tribune.

With the win, one of Pritzker’s top priorities coming into office will be the legalization of marijuana. By doing this, Pritzker will aim to further reform the criminal justice system. Additionally, Pritzker wants to allow for all Illinois residents the opportunity to buy low-cost health insurance, according to his website.

“We have no right to walk away from the broken places of our past with no thought about how to mend them for the future,” Pritzker said. “In Illinois we have a history of building ourselves up from broken places and the bonds we form in the process become the steel girders that hold us all together.”

Pritzker received 54 percent of the total votes, while Rauner took home 39.3 percent, Libertarian Kash Jackson brought in 2.4 percent and Conservative Sam McCann ended with 4.3 percent.