Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is less than two weeks away from the state’s primary election, but he’ll be spending the weekend in New Hampshire, fueling rumors that he could potentially evaluate a run for higher office in coming years.
Pritzker, who is expected to easily secure the Democratic nomination in the governor’s race, will travel to the northeast to help campaign for other Democratic candidates, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joining him for part of the trip as they lobby the DNC to host its quadrennial meeting in the Windy City in 2024.
As for presidential rumors, Pritzker insisted that his visit is focused on other challenges.
“The truth is that I’m going to help other Democratic governors get elected,” he said. “I can’t tell you anything other than I love the job that I have and that’s why I’m running for reelection of the governor of this state and I intend to do a good job for the people of our state for the next four years.”
Pritzker and the Democratic Governors’ Association are continuing to pour money into the Republican primary in the state, with an estimated $3 million in additional funding going toward defeating Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in the GOP race.
State Sen. Darren Bailey, whose conservatism has been criticized in ads during the election cycle, says that Pritzker’s trip to New Hampshire, and his investments in the GOP primary, show an “arrogance” that he says could doom the governor in November.
“This is the same blind confidence that this man has that he thinks he’s saved this state, and I think it’s arrogance,” he said. “It’s blind arrogance, and I think come November he can jet out all the places he wants to.”
Pritzker has been facing criticism this week after news that Caterpillar now plans to move its global headquarters out of suburban Deerfield after more than 100 years in the state of Illinois.
The governor has argued that the company’s top executives are the only employees moving out of state, leaving more than 17,000 workers in Illinois.
“It’s true that they’re moving 240 personnel to another location, but they’ve added hundreds of other jobs,” he said.