Two high-profile Democratic gubernatorial candidates announced key endorsements Monday.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez threw his support behind billionaire venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker during a news conference at Lincoln United Methodist Church on the Near West Side.
“I want to stand with a champion of immigrants and refugees. J.B. Pritzker’s career has been one committed to helping people, to helping poor people — people who might not otherwise have had a chance,” Gutierrez said.
The early endorsement of Pritzker by the Illinois AFL-CIO has bolstered his status as a front-runner. Pritzker announced April 6 he’s running for governor.
Pritzker’s family founded Hyatt hotels, a prime source of his wealth.
Pritzker called Gutierrez “one of the greatest progressive fighters in the Congress.”
“When I’m governor, I’m going to take a page right out of the playbook of Luis Gutierrez and be a thorn in the side of Donald Trump every move he makes,” said Pritzker, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1998, coming in third place in a three-way primary won by Jan Schakowsky.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush endorsed Chris Kennedy’s campaign, with the announcement made at Captain’s Hard Time Dining, 436 E. 79th St.
“We need a governor who will listen to our pain, to our cries and not just listen, but roll up their sleeves and do something about it. That’s why I believe in Chris Kennedy,” Rush said.
“When he speaks to the problem of violence . . . he don’t just speak from talking points, he speaks from his own family experience,” Rush said.
A reporter at Monday’s event reminded Kennedy that he’s downplayed the importance of endorsements in the past.
“What you see today is one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement speaking to the people he represents, saying that we need to come together and support a candidate who will look after all of us,” Kennedy said. “That’s different than the insiders, the establishment, the party leadership cramming down a choice on everybody else.”
Kennedy — founder of Top Box Foods, a hunger-relief non-profit, and the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy — entered the race Feb. 8.