image courtesy of J.B.Pritzker

Pritker Wins Democratic Gubernatorial Primary: AP

March 20, 2018 - 8:19 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- J.B. Pritzker has secured the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor, the Associated Press reports. 

The race was called just after 8 p.m. As of 9 p.m., Pritzker had secured 45 percent of the vote, well ahead of rivals Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss. Biss had secured nearly 26 percent of the vote, with Kennedy at 24 percent.

"I'm J.B. Pritzker and I'm going to beat Bruce Rauner!" Prtizker said as he declared victory. "We're going to put Springfield back on the side of working families."

Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, was seen as the race's frontrunner, having garnered the support of both of Illinois' senators, the Cook CountyDemocratic Party and the AFL-CIO. Polls released before the election showed Pritzker with a lead, although developer Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss, a state senator, made inroads in that lead. Ultimately, Prtizker ran away with the race, which was called by the Associated Press just after 8 p.m. 

Check out WBBM Newsradio's live election results here. 

Kennedy conceded the race shortly before 9 p.m. and threw his support behind Pritzker, saying he ran a tough campaign.

"He took us on one at a time and sometimes all at once," Kennedy told his supporters. "He battled back."

"Cardinal Cupich once said in a democracy the voters get the government that they deserve. The voters of Illinois have spoken and now we must follow their lead and give Mr. Pritzker the support that he has earned," Kennedy said.

Ecstatic supporters of Prtizker's, gathered at the Mariot Marquis, are waiting for his acceptance speech.

Six Democrats ran for governor, but the race was seen as battle between Pritzker, Kennedy and Biss.

Among the biggest issues in the race was campaign funding. Prtizker spent nearly $70 million on his campaign,  while Kennedy spent $2 million of his own money on the race, and Biss said he had only given his campaign about $25, according to the Associated Press. Experts are expecting the race to be the most expensive in Illinois history.

Pritzker and Rauner have spent around $120 million on their races so far, according to reports.