The Latest: Pritzker still considering Illinois governor bid

AP News
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Posted: Feb 08, 2017 2:38 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on businessman Chris Kennedy, the son of late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, announcing his run for Illinois governor (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Billionaire Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker says he's still "seriously considering" running for Illinois governor in 2018.

The Democrat released a statement Wednesday, after businessman Chris Kennedy announced he's seeking the Democratic nomination to try to unseat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Kennedy is the son of Ethel and the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, who also served as attorney general before he was assassinated in 1968.

Businessman/investor Pritzker is the brother of Penny Pritzker, who served as Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama.

Pritzker says he's "listened to people throughout Illinois" and that the state needs "a new leader." He did not mention Kennedy.

Rauner has blasted both Pritzker and Kennedy as tied to House Speaker Michael Madigan, the governor's biggest opponent in the Illinois Capitol.

Democratic Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar also has announced he's running.

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10:25 a.m.

The Illinois Republican Party is tying Chris Kennedy's run for governor to the state's House speaker, who is mired in a state's budget impasse.

Illinois Republican Party spokesman Steven Yaffe (YEAH'-fee) says Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has endorsed Kennedy's run for governor "because he knows that Kennedy will never stand up to him." The state GOP already has launched the website MadiganKennedy.com .

Yaffe says the "last thing Illinois needs is a Madigan lap dog in the governor's office."

Kennedy says Illinois' Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner needs to lead and not blame others such as Madigan for Illinois' problems.

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10 a.m.

Chris Kennedy is stressing his business background as he announces he will run as a Democrat for Illinois governor in 2018.

Kennedy says in a Wednesday morning statement that he's running for governor because he loves Illinois and the state has "never been in worse shape." The son of late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy says state government needs "fundamental change."

Kennedy's statement highlights his experience running Chicago's Merchandise Mart and the real estate development in downtown Chicago known as Wolf Point, which is backed with more than $1 billion in private financing.

Kennedy says he knows "how an economy is meant to function, not just for the rich, but for members of all communities."

A YouTube video accompanies Kennedy's announcement.

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9:30 a.m.

An adviser says Democratic businessman Chris Kennedy plans to run for for Illinois governor in 2018 against Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner.

Hanah Jubeh, a Kennedy campaign adviser, told The Associated Press Wednesday that Kennedy is running.

Kennedy is the son of the late U.S. Sen. and Attorney General Robert Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy.

He brings to the race instant name recognition and considerable personal wealth to help fund a campaign against Rauner, who recently donated $50 million from his own fortune to his campaign.

Kennedy is the former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. He runs a grocery nonprofit, Top Box Foods.

Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar has announced he's seeking the nomination, and other Democrats including billionaire J.B. Pritzker are considering bids.