A week after the Illinois Republican Party launched an early attack of the 2018 campaign with robocalls criticizing J.B. Pritzker, a potential Democratic challenger to Gov. Bruce Rauner, the party has now moved to Chris Kennedy, a Democrat who could try to leverage his famous political heritage into a run for governor.
The party on Tuesday announced an internet video that previews how the Republicans would try to get ahead of Kennedy’s ability to draw on his bloodline if he were to join the race.
The video recalls the members of the Kennedy family — including Chris Kennedy’s uncles, President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Ten Kennedy, and his slain father, U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Republicans try to suggest that Chris Kennedy, a former owner of the Merchandise Mart who now runs a Chicago-based grocery nonprofit, isn’t up for the rough and tumble of politics.
Neither Kennedy nor Pritzker have announced a candidacy.
The video uses clips from the Democratic National Convention, when Kennedy awkwardly scolded reporters for trying to talk to him after he’d addressed an Illinois delegation breakfast meeting in Philadelphia.
“Have some decency. What have you become?” Kennedy asked the reporters as he tried to ride an elevator away from the cameras. He ultimately left the elevator and used a stairwell to flee the scene.
"I’ll admit, my elevator speech needed a little work, but we’ve made great progress since last summer," Kennedy said in an emailed statement. "Too bad the same can’t be said for Illinois. It’s nice to see Gov. Rauner worried about someone besides himself for first time in two years."
Later that day, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also heads the Illinois Democratic Party, told reporters that Kennedy would be an “excellent candidate” for governor and that “he would bring to the campaign the history of his family, which would be very helpful.” (Kim Geiger)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will make an announcement about the Lakefront Trail in the morning and a cargo center at O’Hare International Airport in the afternoon.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner’s has no public events scheduled.
What we’re writing
*Illinois loses more residents in 2016 than any other state.
*Alderman targets 2 Brighton Park businesses after four shot.
*Amazon to open distribution centers in Aurora, add 1,000 jobs.
*Cancer Treatment Centers founder says he can’t afford to pay ex $400K a month.
*Fight between Cubs fan, team highlights tenuous ownership of season tickets.
Follow the money
*State Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat who won re-election last month, reported $41,500 in donations, the largest single gift being $20,000 from the Illinois Education Association’s political arm.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.