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Pritzker on Trump: ‘We want him on the ballot’

Pritzker On Trump: ‘We Want Him On The Ballot’
Presented by Amazon: Shia Kapos' must-read rundown of political news in the Land of Lincoln
Mar 04, 2024 View in browser

By Shia Kapos

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Happy Birthday, Chicago! Today's Pulaski Day, and tomorrow's Super Tuesday.


ON THE STUMP: During an East Coast swing ahead of tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primaries, Gov. JB Pritzker called Donald Trump a “putz” and an “ass” but he said Illinois Democrats still want him on the ballot.

“He’s in trouble in Illinois,” Pritzker said Sunday on MSNBC, reminding that Trump lost in Illinois in 2016 and 2020. “We want him on the ballot because he's a detriment to Republicans across the United States but especially in Illinois.” Watch the interview here

The attacks were sharp during a speech Saturday in Arlington, Va., where Pritzker headlined the Democratic Party of Virginia’s pre-Super Tuesday event. (Pritzker’s Think Big America contributed $250,000 to the Virginia Democrats’ successful efforts to claim both chambers of the legislature.) In his speech, Pritzker called Trump a “putz” and an “ass” and said he is “stupid and ignorant.” The crowd ate it up.

Explaining his blunt talk: “I learned an important lesson” from the 2016 presidential election, said Pritzker, who was a top fundraiser that year for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid that Trump thwarted. “Don't mince words in the fight of your life. Don't hold back. This is an existential battle. I’m done giving any of these insurrectionists the benefit of the doubt. … I’m done pretending that we can debate nuance in this fight."

Will it be a strategy? Pritzker’s comments on the trail have often been echoed by his fellow surrogates, whether it’s abortion or age. The line about Trump being bad for down ballot Republicans may be a mantra.

About age: Pritzker pointed to Trump “bragging about a cognitive test that he took in which they showed him a picture of a shark and a lion. … You know, that's nice. But remember that Joe Biden is handling the complexities of the world."


FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A top-tier corporate convention that got its start in Chicago nearly a decade ago is coming back to McCormick Place on the heels of the Democratic National Convention.

Microsoft is holding its 2024 annual Ignite conference at the Chicago convention center Nov. 18-22, three months after Democrats converge in Chicago. It’s the first time Ignite will be in Chicago since the convention first started in 2015.

From da mayor: The Microsoft event will be Chicago’s largest corporate event of the year, according to Choose Chicago, which works to attract events to the city. “Microsoft’s choice to host Ignite 2024 in Chicago reaffirms this city’s standing as a hub for innovation, technological advancement, and major corporate events,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement to Playbook.

The back story: Microsoft moved its convention after 2015 because of a scheduling conflict. The tech giant wanted to change from a spring to autumn event in 2016, but McCormick Place was booked. Ignite has since held the conference in a few other cities since then, including Seattle and Atlanta (a town that also lost the Democratic convention to Chicago).

What’s all the fuss: Ignite is Microsoft’s largest annual event, according to Choose Chicago’s Isaac Reichman. “It’s all about discovering the latest Microsoft innovation.” This year’s event will be an “AI-centric event to show they’re the leader in the industry.”

No numbers yet on how many attendees will travel to Chicago for the event, but in 2015, the group drew more than 20,000 visitors.


Pritzker appoints former Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell to McPier board: The appointment "puts a close confidante in a key role just months before Chicago hosts the Democratic National Convention,” reports Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles. 

If you are Christian Mitchell, Playbook would like to hear from you. Email [email protected]


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At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at 9:30 a.m. to celebrate Illinois Regional Tech Hub designees.


At the Polish American Museum at 9:30 a.m. to mark Casimir Pulaski Day.

Where's Toni

No official public events.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, new job or (even) a complaint? Email  [email protected]


DON’T MISS POLITICO’S HEALTH CARE SUMMIT: The stakes are high as America's health care community strives to meet the evolving needs of patients and practitioners, adopt new technologies and navigate skeptical public attitudes toward science. Join POLITICO’s annual Health Care Summit on March 13 where we will discuss the future of medicine, including the latest in health tech, new drugs and brain treatments, diagnostics, health equity, workforce strains and more. REGISTER HERE.

2024 WATCH

— HOT RACE: State Rep. Mary Flowers went on WVON on Sunday to talk about her reelection campaign in the 31st District and to push back at Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who’s funneled more than $500,000 to her opponent, Michael Crawford.

Flowers is Springfield’s longest-serving Black lawmaker, who over the years has sponsored legislation related to maternal health and infant death. She’s also known to speak her mind. Welch has viewed her outspokenness as sometimes verbally abusive, including referring to a staffer as resembling Adolf Hitler. In the interview with WVON’s Chinta Strausberg, Flowers acknowledged making the comment but said it was done in a private meeting with Welch. Interview here starting at 20:06.

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Appellate Court Justice Jesse Reyes is out with a new TV ad in the Illinois Supreme Court race. He faces Justice Joy Cunningham, who was appointed to the seat and now hopes to win it outright. Reyes would be the first Latino justice on the state Supreme Court.

— In IL-11: Is the autoworkers union endorsing Foster or Rashid? It depends who you ask: “Even though laborers with UAW Local 1268 — including its president, Matt Frantzen — enthusiastically praised Foster in the ad and thanked him for working with President Joe Biden to save their jobs and reopen Stellantis’ idle Belvidere Assembly Plant, the UAW’s Region 4 office in downstate Ottawa is backing rival Qasim Rashid,” by the Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.

On the heels of that report: The Foster campaign says he's been endorsed by Belvidere United Auto Workers Local 1268.

— In IL-12: Downstate race between Mike Bost, Darren Bailey highlights the GOP’s hard move to the right, report the Tribune’s Rick Pearson and Jeremy Gorner.

— Pricey seat: The Health Care Council of Illinois Political Action Committee, which represents nursing homes, has donated $100,000 to Illinois Senate President Don Harmon’s political fund. Harmon has funding state Sen. Natalie Toro’s reelection bid in the 20th District race. … Challenger David Nayak just donated another $200,000 to his political campaign in the Democratic primary race.

— State House: Voters from Chatham to Kankakee to decide between Thaddeus Jones and newcomer Gloria White, by the Daily Southtown’s Hand Sanders

49th District state House GOP hopefuls discuss being effective within Democratic majority, by Daily Herald’s Eric Peterson

— In the Cook County State’s Attorney race: Clayton Harris has been endorsed by Illinois House Majority Leader Robyn Gabel, Democratic Committeewoman Carol Ronen and the Communication Workers of America District 4.

And Eileen O’Neill Burke has been endorsed by state Rep. Mike Kelly, Ald. Bennett Lawson, Democratic Committeewoman and Ald. Silvana Tabares and Stickney Township Democratic Committeeman Vincent Cainkar.

— Survey says: M3 Strategies, a Republican-focused pollster, is out with some survey results showing a lot of undecided voters, especially in the Democratic primary for the Cook County state’s attorney race. But when they’re pushed, they break for Burke. Details here

— State Rep. Chris Miller, who received $150,000 last week from billionaire Richard Uihlein, is now helping fellow members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, according to State Board of Elections filings. He’s donated $50,000 each to state Reps. Adam Niemerg of Teutopolis and Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville, and $57,400 to Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City. Niemerg is waging a write-in campaign after being kicked off the ballot, and Halbrook has raised eyebrows for seeking another term even though he’s pushed for term limits.

— Congresswoman Robin Kelly is endorsing Cleopatra Draper for 9th Ward Democratic Committeeperson. Draper is running as a write-in after Ald. Anthony Beale dropped out of the race.

— Police district race: Ald. Marty Quinn and state Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar are endorsing a referendum question on the ballot asking voters on Chicago’s Southwest Side if they want a new police district. Details here


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Statewide tornado drill set for Wednesday morning: “The tornado drill will be conducted by the National Weather Service at 11 a.m. Wednesday and will include use of emergency signals on radios, according to the weather service. The drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week,” by the Sun-Times’ Violet Miller.

— INVESTIGATION: Former patients of Fabio Ortega say Endeavor Health failed to protect them from an abusive doctor, by the Tribune’s Lisa Schencker and Emily Hoerner

Essay contest lets students speak out on intolerance, via NPR


With ShotSpotter staying in Chicago for the time being, dispute continues over the system’s usefulness: Study shows ShotSpotter alerts “will bring police to a crime scene faster and keep them there longer. But the software has no effect on overall public safety,” by the Tribune’s Sam Charles and Megan Crepeau.

Rank-and-file legislators skeptical of public funding for Jerry Reinsdorf’s White Sox: Thirty-five years after Jerry Reinsdorf won the state legislature’s last-minute support for a stadium deal, things have changed. “Reinsdorf may find that it has been poisoned over the years by a mountain of evidence that public subsidies for stadiums are rarely a good deal for taxpayers,” writes Brenden Moore of Lee Enterprises.

— Taking the plunge: Mayor Brandon Johnson joined 5,300 people to dive into Lake Michigan on Sunday for the Chicago Polar Plunge, which benefited Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities. Organizers say it was the group’s largest polar plunge — helped in part by warm temps. The event has raised $2 million — and counting.

Kennedy Expressway construction to resume March 11, by the Sun-Times’ Audrey Hettleman


— ON THE COURT: Noah’s Arc Foundation and former Bulls star Joakim Noah, former NBA star Tony Allen, state Sen. Elgie Sims and Chicago CRED Managing Director Arne Duncan kicked off the Spring 2024 One City Basketball League at Intentional Sports on the city's West side. Partnering with 28 violence-prevention orgs, the league uses basketball to build inter-community relationships.


25 years ago, the Lemak murders left Naperville and its officers reeling, by the Daily Herald’s Alicia Fabbre

Highland Park native, wife donate $1M for permanent parade shooting memorial, by the Lake County News-Sun’s Chloe Hilles


On the ground in Albany. Get critical policy news and analysis inside New York State. Track how power brokers are driving change across legislation and budget and impacting lobbying efforts. Learn more.

Reader Digest

We asked for out-of-the-box get-out-the-vote ideas:

Kevin Lampe: "Fix the U.S. and state Constitutions to allow voting on multiple days — and only those who vote can comment (or bellyache) about the results."

Barry McAnarney said to embrace celebrity culture for endorsement. "Joe Biden should start with Taylor Swift."

NEXT QUESTION: How would you describe your driving?


No Labels anxiety grows about presidential ticket, by Daniel Lippman and your Playbook host

Nikki Haley wins DC primary, first victory for campaign, by POLITICO’s Natalie Allison

AIPAC uncorks $100M war chest to sink progressive candidates, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider and Melanie Mason


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— Thursday at 6 p.m. at The Hideout! Before you check out the State of the Union address, stop by the Hideout for a “state of the city” discussion. Guess: Ald. William Hall and Ald. Bennett Lawson. Details here

— March 22: Tom Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Congressman Darin LaHood headline a border security symposium organized by McLean County Republicans. Details here


FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Navy Vice Admiral Olaf Hustvedt, a Chicago native, was named an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his service during WWII.

TODAY's QUESTION: Who designed the seal of the Chicago Park District?  Email [email protected]


Former state Rep. Al Riley, former McLean County Board member Shayna Watchinski, state Senate Parliamentarian and chief legal counsel Giovanni Randazzo, Chicagoland Chamber CEO Jack Lavin, MLS Public Strategies’ Fred Lebed, Dentons pro bono partner Ben Weinberg, business development leader Deborah Ziskind, Metropolitan Group Senior Executive VP Kevin Kirkpatrick, McDonald’s comms senior exec Jesse Lewin and retired business analyst Bob Sallinger.



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Pritzker on Trump: ‘We want him on the ballot’