Governor says he won’t make endorsement for Chicago mayor

By Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pictured on Wednesday, March 1 at Gietl Park in Springfield, where he announced state grants for parks and open spaces. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Nika Schoonover)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday he will not be making any endorsement in next month’s runoff election that will decide the next mayor of Chicago.
The governor’s announcement came one day after a citywide election which saw Mayor Lori Lightfoot become the first incumbent elected mayor in 40 years who failed to be reelected.
Instead, former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas will face Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson in the April 4 runoff. Vallas had success in more conservative areas of the city and garnered 34 percent of the vote, while Johnson was more successful with liberal voters and carried 20 percent. Lightfoot came in third with just 17 percent, failing to make the runoff.
Pritzker said he would not be endorsing a candidate in the runoff – at least not yet.
“Primaries are messy,” Pritzker said. “And they don’t usually illustrate the candidates’ positions on the issues all that well. And so I think it’ll be important for the candidates that made it through that primary process and now in the runoff, to articulate their positions and the contrast between their views.”
As a Chicago voter, Pritzker said, he’d be “listening and watching intently,” although he would not say who he voted for on Tuesday. He also said he had not spoken to Vallas, Johnson or Lightfoot since election night.
“The governor and the mayor of the city of Chicago have to be able to work together,” Pritzker said when asked about potential endorsements. “We saw for years, I think, under (Democratic Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emanuel and (Republican Gov.) Bruce Rauner, where they didn’t, and that wasn’t good for the state or for the city of Chicago.”
He added, “I keep that in mind every day when I think about what I say, what I do, who I endorse – how is that relationship affected by the things that I do? And I hope they’ll keep that in mind as well.”