WASHINGTON (JTA) — J.B. Pritzker, the scion of a hotel family with deep Jewish community ties, handily bested his opponents in a Democratic primary and will face off in Illinois’ race for governor against incumbent Bruce Rauner, who is seen as vulnerable.
Pritzker took a substantial lead in what had been depicted as a close three-way race against Daniel Biss, who, like Pritzker, is Jewish and Chris Kennedy, a scion of the legendary American political family. Pritzker garnered 45 percent of the vote to Biss’ 27 percent and Kennedy’s 24 percent.
Pritzker, whose sister Penny was a Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama, has credited his Jewish upbringing in the family that founded the Hyatt hotel chain for shaping his outlook. “When we would go to temple and listen to discussions (in services or Sunday school), there was no difference between the things being taught at temple and those being taught at home,” he told a Chicago Jewish paper. He has served on the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
A longtime backer of Hillary Clinton, Pritzker is seen as firmly ensconced in the party’s establishment.
Rauner, a moderate Republican, squeaked through a primary challenge by Jeanne Ives, a conservative Republican, winning 51 to 49 percent. He is unpopular in a state that has suffered a financial crisis on his watch.
J.B. Pritzker Wins Democratic Nomination For Illinois Governor