J.B. Pritzker campaign staffer resigns over candidate’s FBI-wiretapped comments

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White speaks Tuesday at Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker’s news conference. | Marcus DiPaola/Sun-Times

A campaign worker for J.B. Pritzker resigned on Tuesday as fallout continued to hit the front-running Democratic candidate for governor over his comments denigrating several African-American politicians during an FBI-wiretapped 2008 conversation with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“I will not stand by a candidate who feels that way about Black folks,” staffer Kina Collins wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon.

“I withdraw my support and endorsement for him as Governor. I apologize to my community for being apart of the campaign, but when you know better you do better,” Collins wrote. “I promise to do better!”

The field organizer had worked for the campaign since November, according to expenditure reports filed with the Illinois Board of Elections.

“We certainly respect Kina’s feelings on this matter and are sad to see her go from the campaign,” Pritzker spokeswoman Galia Slayen said.

Pritzker was recorded in the wiretap referring to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White as Blagojevich’s “least offensive” option to fill then President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, telling Blagojevich “it covers you on the African-American thing.” Pritzker also dismissed former state Senate President Emil Jones as “a little more crass.”

Pritzker apologized Tuesday for “some of the things I didn’t say and some of the things that I did” on the wiretap, as White stood by the candidate, saying “I know where his heart is.”

Jones, though, lashed out over the comments, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that they showed Pritzker’s “true colors.”

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