By GREG BISHOP
THE CENTER SQUARE ASSOCIATE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker denies he’s looking to run for president of the United States in 2024.
The governor will be on the road later this week, pitching Chicago as the place for the Democratic National Convention in two years.
“This is the birthplace of gospel music, it’s where Barack Obama is from,” Gov. Pritzker said when asked Wednesday about his upcoming travels. “We have a lot to offer in Chicago. We’ve hosted Democratic conventions before.”
Chicago has hosted the DNC convention eleven previous times, dating back to 1884. Gov. Pritzker focused on the most recent DNC Chicago convention.
“1996 was fantastic,” Pritzker said. ”Anybody that was around for the Democratic convention knows that Chicago really showed off well to the nation.”
The most famous Chicago convention was in 1968 when clashes between Vietnam War protesters and Chicago police made headlines and television screens nationwide.
Gov. Pritzker was asked about the current streak of violence in Chicago, but didn’t address the issue.
The Democratic incumbent will also be visiting states with early presidential primaries. Republicans looking to take Gov. Pritzker on in November say that’s a sign Gov. Pritzker is preparing for a presidential run, something that would eat into a possible second term.
“While Gov. Pritzker teases his campaign for president in New Hampshire, the people of Illinois are being left behind,” Republican candidate Jesse Sullivan said in a statement. “Businesses are leaving for well-run states like Texas and Florida, and families are leaving to escape the Democrats’ sky-high taxes and corruption.”
Mr. Sullivan is one of six candidates seeking the GOP nomination. Another candidate, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, also speculated Gov. Pritzker is looking to run for president.
“It’s no secret his sights have been set on moving on from the damage he’s already done in Illinois — so he’s planning to spend the day fraternizing with Democrats in New Hampshire,” Irvin’s campaign said in a statement. “His East Coast field trip comes at a time when police officers are being run down in the streets of Chicago, Mike Madigan’s corruption trial carries on, and inflation reaches an all-time high.”
In December 2021, the New York Times reported Gov. Pritzker “talked privately about his interest in seeking the White House at some point should the opportunity arise.”
Gov. Pritzker denied he was testing the presidential waters then and again denied the prospect Wednesday.
“The truth is that I’m going to help other Democratic governors get elected in Massachusetts, in New Hampshire, in Maine, to help raise money, to help get the word out,” Gov. Pritzker said Wednesday. “I can’t tell you anything other than I love the job that I have, that’s why I’m running for re-election as governor of our state, and I intend to continue to do a good job for the people of the state for the next four years.”
Gov. Pritzker did not mention President Joe Biden in his response about whether he was seeking to run for the job. President Biden has indicated he plans to run for re-election in 2024.
Gov. Pritzker faces a Democratic primary from Beverly Miles. The election is June 28. Early voting is ongoing.
The other Republicans looking to advance to the November election are state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia; Gary Rabine; Paul Schimpf and Max Soloman.