Illinois billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has desperately tried to make himself the central Democrat powerbroker in a state controlled by the party, but each month, his stock seems to sink lower despite the millions he is spreading around.
Pritzker has suffered one defeat after another and seems to be steadily fading into irrelevancy in a state entirely controlled by the party he was presumably elected to lead, MSN News noted.
The Democrat governor’s most public loss was the defeat of his massive income tax hike on which he spent $56 million for a misleading campaign to convince voters to approve.
But the governor has lost time and again in power plays with his party, too, as reporter Mark Konkol points out.
For instance, he lost a bid to get his handpicked candidate elected as Senate president by his fellow Democrats. Pritzker wanted Sen. Kimberly Lightford — a big Pritzker supporter — to become the upper chamber’s chief, but his party gave the nod to Democrat Dan Harmon instead.
Pritzker also mistakenly thought he had another track to grow his influence.
In February, longtime House Speaker and Democrat Party chief Michael Madigan “retired” just ahead of a growing investigation into political corruption that had been edging ever closer to him. Madigan has had a chokehold on Illinois Demsocrats for more than four decades, and Pritzker saw his departure as a chance to take hold of the party for himself.
Consequently, Pritzker made a play to get Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris to replace the recently resigned Madigan as party chief. Unfortunately for the governor, the party went in a different direction by handing the keys to the party to U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, who became the state’s first black female Democratic Party chairwoman.
Pritzker has come up dry in other areas, too. For instance, he lost his attempt to force Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle to follow his ideas on distributing the coronavirus vaccine in their jurisdictions.
Pritzker dove into the influence game with gusto by donating ten million dollars of his own money to many of Madigan’s allies. He also jumped to put one Madigan suggestion after another into positions of power, likely assuming he was buying himself some consideration.
So far, though, all his money, favors, and positioning seem to have afforded him little favor among the Democrat establishment.
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