Pritzker endorses Valencia’s ‘history-making’ bid for Illinois secretary of state: ‘I believe Anna is the best choice’

While rival candidate Alexi Giannoulias still holds a strong financial advantage over the field in terms of his campaign fund, that could change as the deep-pocketed governor hailed Anna Valencia’s “proven record of success” and declared she “represents the bright future of the Democratic party.”

SHARE Pritzker endorses Valencia’s ‘history-making’ bid for Illinois secretary of state: ‘I believe Anna is the best choice’
City Clerk Anna Valencia, left, in 2019; Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right, last month.

City Clerk Anna Valencia, left, in 2019; Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right, last month.

Rich Hein; Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times-file

Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced he’s backing Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia in the hotly contested Democratic primary race for Illinois secretary of state over former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and South Side Ald. David Moore (17th).

It’s the second major endorsement Valencia has nabbed in the last week, after enlisting the highly coveted support of retiring Secretary of State Jesse White.

While Giannoulias still holds a strong financial advantage over the field in terms of his campaign fund, that could change as the deep-pocketed governor hailed Valencia’s “proven record of success” and declared she “represents the bright future of the Democratic party.”

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“In this Democratic primary for Secretary of State we are lucky to have three capable candidates. However, I believe Anna is the best choice,” Pritzker said in a statement. “I am thrilled to support her history-making candidacy to be the first woman and first Latina to serve as Illinois Secretary of State.”

Valencia said Pritzker’s backing “adds to the growing momentum around our campaign.”

“I look forward to joining the Governor on the ballot this fall, rallying our diverse coalition of voters and partnering with him as Secretary of State to fight for all Illinoisans,” she said in a statement.

City Clerk Anna Valencia waves to parade goers during the Bud Billiken Parade in August of 2021. Valencia has been endorsed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in her bid for the Democratic nomination for Illinois secretary of state.

City Clerk Anna Valencia waves to parade goers during the Bud Billiken Parade in August of 2021. Valencia has been endorsed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in her bid for the Democratic nomination for Illinois secretary of state.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Besides Pritzker and White, Valencia has notched endorsements from U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.

But Giannoulias has racked up heavyweight Democratic support, too, earning the key backing of the Cook County Democratic Party. He’s also been endorsed by ​​the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2,500 workers in the secretary of state’s office.

“That’s because Alexi is the only candidate who’s talking about what hard-working Illinoisans want most from their next Secretary of State, which includes ways to reduce wait times at driver’s license facilities, add more online services, protect voter rights, increase opportunities to register to vote and make public library resources more accessible,” Giannoulias campaign spokesperson Hanah Jubeh said in an email.

Former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, left, and Ald. David Moore (17th), right, last year.

Former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, left, and Ald. David Moore (17th), right, last year.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Moore downplayed Pritzker’s endorsement, too, saying in a statement that “although I am an elected official, I am not viewed as part of the establishment.”

“The party establishment didn’t support my candidacy the first two times I ran for alderman,” he said. “I didn’t ask permission then and I’m not asking permission now. The voters will decide who they want to be the Democratic nominee for Illinois secretary of state.”

That decision will be made at the primary election on June 28.

Giannoulias started the year with more than $4 million in his campaign fund, compared to about $883,000 for Valencia and about $82,000 for Moore, according to records kept by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

In the Republican primary, Bloomington state Rep. Dan Brady is squaring up against former Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John Milhiser and broadcaster William J. Kelly.

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