Kennedy, Pritzker pick up endorsements in Illinois governor's race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two candidates in the race for Illinois governor are getting new support for their campaigns. Both Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker picked up endorsements on Monday.

A champion of immigrant rights and a civil rights icon key endorsements for democratic candidates for governor: Congressman Luis Gutierrez is throwing his support behind Pritzker, giving the billionaire a potential big chunk of the Latino vote.

"Am I a fighter for immigrant rights? Yes. The fact that Luis Gutierrez has stood up to endorse me is an indicator to the people who care about these issues that I will be a champion for them," Pritzker said.

With months to go before the primary, Pritzker has already lined up endorsements in key voting blocks. Several democrats believe he is the only candidate with the financial resources to compete and beat Governor Bruce Rauner.

"I think that is a very positive thing. I'm happy he doesn't have to have one fundraiser after fundraiser after another with people," Gutierrez said.

Pritzker and Rauner have the money to pay for mascots: Tick Tock the Budget Clock and a fake Blagojevich showed up at the same event Monday.

On the South Side, Congressman Bobby Rush endorsed Chris Kennedy. While Rush is part of the Democratic establishment, he blasted state Democrats for working behind the scenes to back Pritzker.

"I repudiate these back-room deals - the strategy of trying to force Chris out of the race," Rush said.

Just a few weeks ago, Kennedy dismissed the importance of endorsements. He says Rush's backing is different.

"I think what you see today is one of the great leaders of the Civil Rights Movement speaking to the people he represents," Kennedy said.

And, Rush represents a big district. But, which endorsement carries more weight for the governor's race?

"I would say Gutierrez has more clout because he's got a higher profile because he has a very large base among the immigrant community. And he's very popular," ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington said.

Rush is popular too among his constituency, although, his base is not as big. To win the Democratic primary, a candidate will need a significant portion of the African American and Latino vote.
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