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Sneed: Chris Kennedy announces run for governor

Chicago businessman and philanthropist Chris Kennedy said Wednesday he will announce a run for governor. | Sun-Times file photo by Michael Schmidt


Chris Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy political dynasty, announced today he has tossed his hat in the ring for Governor.

Kennedy has dipped his toe in the gubernatorial waters several times previously — only to pull out before officially announcing his candidacy. Sneed was first to report that he’s finally doing it this time.

Kennedy told Sneed he will formally announce his candidacy Wednesday afternoon.

By Wednesday morning, however, his campaign already had sent out an email announcement and a promotional video.

“I love this state, and I’m running for governor because we can do better. Together we can restore the American Dream in Illinois in a single generation. Watch the video below to learn more, then share it with your friends and family to encourage them to join our campaign,” Kennedy says in the email.

“We have a tough task ahead: taking on a governor who has put Illinois in the worst shape it’s been since I moved here thirty years ago. I feel called to serve at this moment because I know we can do better.”

Translation: No more flirtations with higher office as he has done in the past.

Kennedy, son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, has spent the past few months interviewing pollsters and consultants to prepare for a possible 2018 gubernatorial run.

Sneed also exclusively disclosed months ago that former U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley — who once entertained a bid for governor and is a member of a Chicago political dynasty — would back Kennedy if he ran for office. Kennedy is also the nephew of the nation’s first Roman Catholic President, John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in his first term in office.

Kennedy, the former chairman of the Merchandise Mart, cofounded TOP BOX Foods in 2012 with his wife, Sheila. It is a nonprofit organization which sells fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy meats at a lower cost to under-served areas.

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker also is weighing a gubernatorial run, while Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar has declared.