“I’ve been to this rodeo before, but that does’t make it any easier,” J.B. Pritzker said after Hillary Clinton‘s heartfelt concession speech. It was the kind of speech a president would give, he adds. “It spoke to the kind of leader and role model she would have been — compassionate and strong.”
Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, sat on the front row as Clinton spoke and were among the first to embrace her when she left the stage.
Before heading out for an East Coast vacation, Pritzker talked about the campaign and how the loss likely came down to three issues:
1. FBI Director James Comey‘s letter to Congress days before the election saying his office was examining emails pertaining to Clinton. “This gave the Republicans a major talking point that filled the airwaves for the last two weeks straight,” he said. “Had he stayed out of it, I think it’s clear (from all the polling) she would have won.”
2. Male voters. After Comey’s letter, their support “simply collapsed.”
3. Polling. “None of the polling indicated for months that it was needed” in Wisconsin.
Pritzker is a venture capitalist, philanthropist and entrepreneur who’s been involved in politics his whole life. He walked door-to-door with his mother for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Pritzker ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1998. And over the past decade he’s supported Clinton, serving as her national campaign co-chair in 2008.
Over the past 18 months, he’s worked phone banks and canvassed neighborhoods. His key role, though, was raising money — more than anyone on the campaign. Pritzker personally gave to the tune of $14 million to the campaign, Democratic National Committee and political action committees.
He praised Clinton for running “a campaign of substance” and made up of “the best statisticians and data analytics people in the world.”
“She ran the campaign while Republican bullets were flying and with a media that gave him (Donald Trump) more airtime and enjoyed following his antics more than they did talking about the qualifications and experience of what it would take to be president,” Pritzker says.
There’s comfort, he says, in knowing Clinton won the popular vote and that she wasn’t far behind in many states.
Looking ahead, Pritzker expects Clinton, now “a statesperson of historic importance,” to advise leaders. And he hopes she’ll become a force in philanthropy — ideally in early childhood education. That issue is especially important to Pritzker, who was co-chair of Clinton’s Education Policy Working Group. Clinton’s view of education is a “big reason” Pritzker supported her.
Megyn Kelly hitting Chicago
Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor who butted heads with President-elect Donald Trump, is headlining Dan Goodwin‘s annual holiday party.
For the past decade, the founder and chairman of Inland Real Estate Group of Companies Inc. has thrown an invitation-only holiday luncheon for friends, colleagues and notable names. Much like business moguls Richard Driehaus and Sam Zell, whose private bashes draw big-name entertainers, Goodwin brings in big-name speakers.
“The purpose is to bring people from all over the state together in the spirit of the season and cooperation right after the election,” says political fundraiser Lisa Wagner, who manages the party.
Last year, headliner Bill O’Reilly predicted Trump had a 20 percent chance of being elected president, and in 2014 the speaker was President George W. Bush.
The Nov. 28 party at the Westin hotel in Lombard has a charitable element too. Proceeds from a photo opp with Kelly — at $500 a pop — will benefit New Directions Housing Corp. for affordable housing.
Kelly will talk about her memoir, “Settle For More,” which comes out this week and has already prompted headlines for revelations of her role in Roger Ailes getting booted from his perch at Fox News.
Artist’s call to action
Artists lean left, so it’s no wonder last week’s presidential election prompted a call to action by Theaster Gates, one of Chicago’s most celebrated artists.
“We need to roll up our f—in’ sleeves,” he called out from the stage at the Hyde Park Art Center gala over the weekend.
Cheers followed and paddles flew up a few minutes later during the auction.
Gates credits Hyde Park Art Center with helping him get his start as an artist. He was honored along with Linda Johnson Rice, chairman emeritus and board member of Ebony Media Operations, which publishes Ebony magazine.
The two have collaborated on a project that’s bringing light to the South Side. Gates has transformed a once-crumbling bank into Stony Island Arts Bank–a gallery and library, featuring the massive collection of books from Johnson Publishing.
Committed to diversity
While protesters chanted “Not My President” along Lake Shore Drive last week, the Hilton Chicago ballroom buzzed about a Donald Trump presidency.
Guests at the Chicago Consular Corps gala wondered what it will mean for Chicago. The organization is made up of representatives of more than 80 countries.
In a speech, Mayor Rahm Emanuel reiterated Chicago’s commitment to diversity.
“Chicago’s dependency is to look out to the world as the world looks to us,” he said. “And we will never as a city deviate from that outward look. It’s in our economic interest, our cultural interest and in our collected interest in the city.”
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.