Ken Griffin wants Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to run against JB Pritzker for governor, sources say

Craig Wall Image
Friday, December 17, 2021
IL billionaire Ken Griffin wants Aurora mayor to run for governor
Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin has handpicked Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to run against Governor JB Pritzker next year, though Irvin has not confirmed or denied that he would do

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Sources say Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin wants to offer financial support to Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to run against JB Pritzker for governor.

Griffin has promised to back a candidate to beat Gov. Pritzker in 2022. Mayor Irvin has not confirmed or denied that he is the candidate Griffin has chosen, and Griffin's team is also trying to shoot down speculation.

At a ceremony at Aurora City Hall Thursday, Irvin seemed uninterested in talking about a potential run for governor, and tried to duck out quickly after the event was over.

"I am honored and flattered that people are considering me in that light, but right now I'm doing the work for the city of Aurora," he said.

READ MORE: Gov. JB Pritzker announces reelection bid, will seek 2nd term

The "people" considering him are Griffin, a hedge fund billionaire, and his team. According to multiple sources, Griffin has picked Irvin, a moderate in his second term as mayor of the state's second largest city.

He also wants downstate conservative Republican state representative Avery Bourne to be Irvin's running mate, the sources said. She did not return calls seeking comment.

Griffin spent more than $50 million of his own money to defeat Pritzker's progressive income tax referendum, and pledged earlier this year to do whatever it takes to defeat the governor in the next election.

RELATED: Pritzker tries to shoot down speculation he may run for president

Griffin's team denied he had picked Irvin or any other candidate at this point, and issued a statement saying, "We have real problems in Illinois with violence, corruption and profligate spending and I look forward to supporting candidates -- be it Republican or Democrat -- who will address these issues that plague our state."

Irvin has an impressive resume, according to his official city bio. He's an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He is also a former prosecutor and educator.

The primary is next June and candidates can't start circulating nominating petitions until January, so anything official may not happen until after the holidays.