URBANA – J.B. Pritzker announced Monday he will seek a second term as governor of Illinois. The politician will face a Democratic primary challenger and at least three Republican opponents who have already announced their intentions to run for his seat.
Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton will also seek re-election.
In 2018, Pritzker defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner by nearly 15 points. Pritzker, a billionaire, repeatedly tapped his vast personal fortune for his first job in elective office.
During his first term, Pritzker declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. He won praise and criticism for closing businesses and schools in response to the health crisis. In June 2021, Illinois entered Phase 5 of the COVID-19 reopening plan, allowing normal activity in businesses, 15 months after Pritzker’s disaster declaration.
With the help of the Democratic majority in the state legislature, Pritzker has been able to sign into law several historic bills, including major reforms in criminal justice, economic equity and expansion of covered Medicaid services. He also signed into law new mandatory classes on Black history (including the period that pre-dates enslavement dating back to 3,000 BCE) and Asian history in schools, as well as courses on media literacy.
Pritzker also received a major defeat in November 2020. Voters defeated a proposal to change Illinois income tax from a flat rate to graduated rate. Pritzker heavily campaigned for the graduated income tax.
While the filing period for office is still months away, a registered nurse from Chicago, Beverly Miles, announced she wants to challenge Pritzker in the primary.
Several Republican politicians have planned campaigns to defeat Pritzker, including State Sen. Darren Bailey, millionaire businessman Gary Rabine, and former State Sen. Paul Schimpf. As a State Rep., Bailey sued Pritzker over his use of emergency powers during the pandemic.