Why I support J.B. Pritzker for Governor

As many of you know, I am a "BIG" supporter of J.B. Pritzker for Governor. I will update this post periodically with more of my opinions and answers to questions from fellow Democrats. Posts are in reverse chronological order. If you haven't visited this post before, start at the bottom and read up.


(Originally posted 3/28/18)

My reasons for supporting JB Pritzker are all positive things about him, not negatives about other candidates. (See my earlier posts, printed below.) But I still keep hearing from self-styled "progressive Democrats" who feel that Daniel Biss should have won the primary instead of JB. Here's why I think they're wrong:

1.  Daniel Biss is a wonderful legislator and an honest, committed public servant. But he's not a strong campaigner. I supported Daniel when he ran for State Comptroller, but Susana Mendoza was so much stronger a campaigner that Daniel dropped out of the race. There's no reason to think he could do better against Bruce Rauner.

2.   Some people have said that Daniel is better qualified than JB because he's served in the General Assembly. But the list of legislators who have become Governor, much less succeeded in the job, is short. The only legislator to serve as Governor in the last 50 years is George Ryan.

3.  Election results don't lie. JB got 45% of the primary vote, compared to 26% for Biss. If Daniel can barely get a quarter of the primary vote, what makes you think he would get a majority in the general election?

4.  I share your view that politics shouldn't be dominated by rich people. But until we get a Supreme Court that reverses Citizens United and other terrible decisions, we need to live in the real world. Not being rich ("the middle-class Governor") is not a campaign platform.

5.  Not all rich people are the same. Some use their money greedily acquiring more money at the expense of more needy people, like the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, Ken Griffin, and Bruce Rauner. Others use their wealth to help needy people, like Bill Gates or George Soros. JB Pritzker is one of the latter.

6.  An old shampoo commercial said, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Don't hate JB because he's rich. Love him for what he's done with his wealth and what he's trying to do now. You can resent the role that wealth plays in politics, but don't throw away our best chance to beat Bruce Rauner. 

7.   As Ben Joravsky said in the Reader, "Pritzker's win was a sign that Democrats have hardened from that debacle [Trump's 2016 victory]. They're more pragmatic and practical."

The primary is over. It's JB Pritzker or Bruce Rauner. The choice is obvious for any Democrat and/or progressive. Put aside candidates who lost and support one who shares your values and can win. 


(Originally posted 3/8/18)

Yesterday, I sent an email with a sample ballot and my recommendations for the March 20th primary. If you didn't read it, click here.

I received a number of questions. Rather than answer them individually, I decided to create this blog post. You might be interested in hearing what other people asked and my answers.

Q. "Why not Daniel Biss?"

A.  I have known Daniel Biss for many years and admire him as a legislator. But I don't think he would be a strong candidate against Bruce Rauner. Daniel's speaking style is best described as "professorial". As a State Senator and previously a State Representative, his record leaves a lot of openings for criticism. I've been disappointed by his campaign. Not being rich is not a platform. JB Pritzker has run much more substantive ads, laying out a vision for Illinois. He's our best chance to beat Rauner.

Q. "Why aren't you supporting Chris Kennedy for governor? "

A.  Kennedy's campaign has been a real disappointment. He over-relies on his family name, taking credit for things he played no part in. Almost every email is from someone named "Kennedy." He ignores his own checkered record as President of the University of Illinois, when he led questionable financial decisions and led the decision to deny a faculty job to controversial professor Steven Salaita. He claims credit for running the Merchandise Mart, but he was put in charge of the family business. He's taken cheap shots at other Democrats while defending Governor Rauner. No wonder the Chicago Tribune, which hates Democrats, loves Kennedy.

Q. "Why do you support JB Pritzker?"

A.  I made that pretty clear in my email and in my endorsement of JB. Let me just add this. Not all rich people are selfish, arrogant jerks. JB is using his money to help those who are less fortunate. He's a generous, public-spirited rich person, part of a tradition ranging from the Rockefellers to Bill Gates. Some progressives are prejudiced again Pritzker because he's rich. I want to reduce the influence of money in politics as much as anyone, but throwing away our best chance to win won't do that.

(Originally posted 2/20/18)

I am today announcing my endorsement of J.B. Pritzker for Governor and Juliana Stratton for Lieutenant Governor.

The positions J.B. has taken on issues are the most progressive and the most practical of any candidate for Governor. His proposal for a “public option” for health care, for example, would give Illinois families more choices at little or no cost to the state. His support for a progressive income tax prioritizes our middle class and those striving to get there, while those who can afford to pay more do so.

J.B. has run a smart, effective, and principled campaign. His TV ads have focused on substance. He faces the camera and tells voters what he stands for. That’s a refreshing change. His campaign staff is excellent. A candidate who runs a great campaign gives voters confidence that he’ll run a great government.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know J.B. as a person. After public appearances, he stays to talk with voters one-on-one. He is warm, genuine, and sincerely cares about the needs of Illinois’ working families.

Governor Rauner knows that J.B. would be our strongest candidate. That's why Rauner has been running ads trying to defeat J.B. in the Democratic primary. Don't be misled by Rauner's misleading TV commercials. Too many Democrats made that mistake four years ago.

For all these reasons, I’m proud to support our next Governor, J.B.Pritzker.

Matt Flamm

Palatine Township Democratic Committeeman

[email protected]


Please note: the Greater Palatine Area Democrats (GPAD) have not endorsed any candidate in the primary. This endorsement is made by me personally and as the elected Palatine Township Democratic Committeeman.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • Meg Bradshaw
    commented 2018-03-12 22:14:35 -0500
    Hi Matt. I appreciate your confidence in JB Pritzker. I hope I won’t offend you by voicing my disagreement. I think JB has done wonderful things as a philanthropist, and I hope he continues to. But I’m concerned about anyone learning how to govern beginning with the highest office in the state.

    Sen. Daniel Biss has been in Springfield eight years now, made his beginner’s mistakes early on, and come into his own. He has honed relationships on both sides of the aisle and passed 88 of his bills.

    I’m not sure why you believe JB Pritzker is best equipped to win against Bruce Rauner, unless you are focused on their relative deep pockets. He has significant baggage already being exploited by Rauner’s campaign. Daniel Biss, on the other hand, has clean hands, has demonstrated effectiveness in Springfield, and his brilliance and sincerity are evident in every debate and speaking engagement.

    Thank you for inviting reactions to your post. I hope this one is okay with you!

    Your friend,
    Meg Bradshaw
  • Matthew A. Flamm
    published this page in Blog 2018-02-20 00:01:28 -0600
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