By KEVIN BESSLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — With recent speeches in Florida and New Hampshire, the speculation won’t go away that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is eyeing the White House.
As a speaker at a Florida Democratic Party conference, Gov. Pritzker attacked Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron Desantis, calling him Donald Trump with a mask. Gov. DeSantis himself is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate.
Gov. Pritzker’s Florida appearance came a month after his keynote speech before New Hampshire Democrats, who historically have been the ones to cast the first votes in presidential primary elections.
“Here is where the Republican game plan is the most audacious,” Gov. Pritzker said. “They want to distract you into believing that gay marriage, black history, Disney World and library books are more of a threat to our children than an AR-15.”
He also grabbed the national stage following the Fourth of July shootings in Highland Park.
“I’m furious that this is happening in communities all across Illinois and America,” Gov. Pritzker said. “I’m furious because it does not have to be this way.”
Gov. Pritzker then got into a highly publicized Twitter feud with the National Rifle Association.
Gov. Pritzker faces Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, an avid gun rights advocate, in the November election for Illinois governor.
“Instead of coming to Springfield to do his job, Gov. Pritzker is gallivanting with his rich friends in Europe, New Hampshire, D.C., Maine, and Florida,” Sen. Bailey said in a statement. “Illinois families have a message for J.B.: Repeal the Pritzker gas tax hike. Stop campaigning for president and do your job.”
Scott Schluter, the Libertarian party candidate for governor, said Gov. Pritzker needs to get his priorities straight.
“He is currently running for re-election as governor as he’s more interested in the next big, shiny thing than actually staying home and helping fix the disaster he caused in Illinois with all of his mandates and executive orders,” Mr. Schluter said.
Fox News personality Tucker Carlson recently berated Gov. Pritzker during a broadcast, saying that under his direction Illinois has lost population, become much poorer, much more dangerous, and much less free.
“Illinois loses a resident every 4 minutes. Now, how many people is that? Well, over a year, that’s the equivalent of losing the entire city of Springfield, which is the capital of Illinois,” Mr. Carlson said. “How many are going to Florida? Well, most of them. One of the reasons that Illinois isn’t safe anymore is because people with jobs are leaving.”
No Illinois governor has moved on and become president of the United States.