A day before the Illinois primary, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden for president — calling him the “right candidate to beat Donald Trump.”
”As our nation faces some of the biggest challenges of our time, I know Vice President Joe Biden is the right candidate to beat Donald Trump and lead us into a new era,” Pritzker told the Chicago Sun-Times in a statement.
Pritzker — the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist turned governor — has repeatedly said he would stay out of the Democratic primary.
“I’m for the Democrat,” Pritzker said time and time again.
But by Sunday, Pritzker’s political team said the governor was making the endorsement, in part, to remind voters elections are still important, even as the nation and state grapple with the coronavirus outbreak. Despite some concerns over voter turnout, Pritzker on Sunday said the election would not be delayed.
“Democracy must continue,” Pritzker said at a Chicago news conference Sunday. “We have to elect leaders, even in less than ideal circumstances.”
The Democratic governor is currently garnering national attention for his decisive response to the coronavirus outbreak — first ordering all Illinois schools closed, then all bars and restaurants. Pritzker, too, criticized Trump’s administration in very blunt tweets over the weekend and continued his messaging on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning.
“It’s time to unite as Democrats to restore respect to our nation’s highest office. Joe will stand on the side of working families and serve as a partner to us in Illinois as we work to create good paying jobs, expand health care and invest in education,” Pritzker said in the statement.
Pritzker called Biden a “steady hand” who can move the country “past the divisiveness and vitriol that have become the norm in 2020.”
“I trust Joe to lead with his head and heart, to do what’s right, and to get things done for the American people,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker was a major donor to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has been calling for Trump’s impeachment since as early as 2017. The governor last year signed several immigration bills in response to Trump’s border policies and has vowed that the state of Illinois “stands as a firewall against Donald Trump’s attacks on our immigrant communities.”
An heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, Pritzker is the wealthiest sitting politician in the country, with his net worth estimated at $3.4 billion, according to Forbes. Trump’s net worth is estimated at $3.1 billion.
Biden now has the backing of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and three African American members of Congress from Illinois — Rush and Reps. Danny Davis and Robin Kelly, whose districts have the highest concentration of black voters in the state.