Share the article: In 1998, Rod Blagojevich Compared J.B. Pritzker To President Abraham Lincoln

Pritzker’s close ties to Blagojevich go back over two decades

It is undeniable that J.B. Pritzker and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich have been “bosom buddies” for decades.

Pritzker fundraised for Blagojevich’s run for Congress in 1996 and Blagojevich helped Pritzker in his failed run in 1998. Pritzker joined Blagojevich’s $25,000 Club with a large campaign check, and Blagojevich later appointed Pritzker to head Illinois’ Human Rights Commission. Then there’s the infamous FBI wiretaps between Pritzker and Blagojevich published by the Chicago Tribune, and that only scratches the surface.

Blagojevich and Pritzker were so close, Blagojevich swooned over Pritzker as early as 1998, talking of his “tremendous future” in politics and comparing him to President Abraham Lincoln.

From yesterday’s profile in the Chicago Tribune:

…He finished third with 20 percent of the vote in a 1998 primary won by Jan Schakowsky, who still holds the seat. Pritzker got campaign help from workers allied with former 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell, the father-in-law of future Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Two years earlier, Pritzker had helped Blagojevich win his congressional seat.

“This was a good first start and I think J.B. has a tremendous future,” Blagojevich said in a May 1998 Tribune profile of Pritzker. “Remember, Abraham Lincoln didn’t win his first election, and Mario Cuomo lost several races before he got elected. For J.B., this is only the beginning.”


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