CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thursday marks the official kickoff of the political season in Illinois where candidates can begin circulating nominating petitions.
Governor JB Pritzker joined other elected officials and supporters at the 95th Street CTA Red Line station to start gathering the needed signatures to get on the ballot.
"I'm very proud to be out here with activists with petitioners, people who are collecting petition signatures to make sure that we can continue the progress that we've made," Pritzker said.
In one of the more intriguing races this year, for Secretary of State, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia was out with her daughter and supporters doing her part to gather signatures.
The candidate considered to be the early front runner, former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, wasted no time doing the same, getting his nominating papers started on day one as well.
With the Illinois Primary pushed back from March until June 28 because of the delay in redrawing the political maps, there is less time for people to gather signatures and they are now doing so in winter instead of starting around Labor Day.
"Not only are we in the middle of winter, we're in the middle of a pandemic. This is not a time when people want to be face to face in person. This is a time when everyone wants to be online on Zoom. So people have to go out in the street, and get signatures, begin to introduce themselves as candidates. It makes it a much tougher slog," said Laura Washington, ABC7 Political Analyst.
Thursday morning retiring congressman Bobby Rush officially announced an endorsement in the race to replace him.
Karin Norington Reaves, a relative political newcomer, got the nod of support. She said she is not taking the endorsement for granted.
"He may open lots of doors. It is my responsibility to walk through them and to demonstrate what I bring to the table," she said.
Rush said he will be actively campaigning for Norington-Reaves and helping her raise money. After the announcement he headed out with her in Hyde Park to help start gathering petition signatures for what is expected to be a crowded and expensive race.
Illinois 2022 election season officially kicks off Thursday
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