Chris Kennedy gubernatorial campaign persists as Pritzker garners support

Sarah Schulte Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Chris Kennedy still in race for Illinios governor
Chris Kennedy

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Democrat Chris Kennedy's campaign for Illinois governor has been a bit under the radar compared to one of his opponents -- J.B. Pritzker, who already has two TV commercials running and received union and Democratic party support.

Some democrats wonder if Kennedy plans to stay in the race. His last name is synonymous with politics, and Kennedy said that quitting is not in his blood.

For years, Illinois Democrats urged Kennedy to run for public office. Now, that he is a candidate for governor, some party insiders and unions are turning their backs on him and backing Pritzker because the billionaire has the resources to go against incumbent billionaire Bruce Rauner.

"He can take the tip of the pyramid, he can have it all day long. I want to be where the people are and they are ultimately going to be with me," Kennedy said.

As the eight child of Robert F. Kennedy, Kennedy refuses to be silenced by his own party. He said he is in this race until the end.

"I'm the smallest of seven brothers, we were taught to compete hard and never quit, we don't walk off the field in the middle of the game, anybody who thinks that's going to occur has a rough lesson coming to them," Kennedy said.

Despite his own wealth, Kennedy is confident voters will see him as the progressive grass roots candidate.

His latest pitch is abandoning the system that relies on property taxes to fund public education.

"The system is corruptible that if you have access to money you can hire a lawyer and you can have your property taxes reduced," Kennedy said.

While Kennedy admits he has appealed his own property taxes, he said wealthy areas are under-assessed. Poor, specifically minority areas, are paying too much for the value of their homes.

Kennedy fears this contributes to the gentrification of the state.

"The city is becoming smaller and whiter and Illinois, the same thing is occurring, we have massive gentrification. The state is becoming smaller and wealthier," he said.

On Wednesday, Kennedy's focus turns to fundraising. He heads to California for a fundraiser hosted by some of his siblings and cousins.

Like Gov. Rauner and Pritzker, Kennedy has contributed to his own campaign -- although, not nearly as much as the billionaires.