She joins White, unions in backing wealthy Chicagoan
Comptroller Susana Mendoza endorsed wealthy Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker for governor last week, becoming the second statewide Democratic official to endorse Pritzker.
During an announcement in Springfield Wednesday, Mendoza said that as comptroller, she's seen firsthand the damage caused by the nearly 2-year budget impasse, something she said was caused by Gov. Bruce Rauner's "refusal to govern."
"I decided to make an endorsement for governor because I understand what is at stake," she said.
Mendoza said she gave fair consideration to all of the candidates in the crowded Democratic field running for governor, seven candidates including Pritzker. She said Pritzker is a "fierce progressive fighter" who will bring jobs to the state.
"Over the course of this last year, I've had the opportunity to listen to all of the candidates for governor," Mendoza said. "I've studied their platforms. One clear leader has emerged. This is no close second."
After the announcement, Mendoza said it would be "a mistake to assume I'm not open and very, very careful about watching everything that's happening and listening to everyone's positions. I know a lot of these candidates from before. I've had more than enough time to make up my mind."
Mendoza's endorsement is another in a long line for Pritzker. Popular Secretary of State Jesse White endorsed him in August. A long line of labor unions have already endorsed his campaign. Mendoza and Pritzker made the announcement at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 193 headquarters in Springfield.
Pritzker acknowledged he's won the endorsement of a fiery campaigner who defeated Rauner's hand-picked comptroller in a special election last year.
"There is no one who has done more to hold this governor responsible than Susana Mendoza," Pritzker said. "Those who underestimate Susana, do so at their own risk."
While she is endorsing Pritzker and wants to see him elected governor, Mendoza insisted she will speak out if Pritzker is elected and she thinks he is doing something wrong.
"I will hold any governor, whether he's a Democrat or a Republican, in check. That's my job," Mendoza said. "If it's Governor Pritzker, he needs to understand that I want to work with him, but I don't work for him."
"She has stood up against Democrats, against Republicans when she disagrees," Pritzker said. "I have no doubt she will do the same when I become governor."
The Illinois Republican Party issued a statement saying Mendoza's endorsement of Pritzker simply represented her doing House Speaker Michael Madigan's bidding.
"Mike Madigan made Susana Mendoza's political career by backing her campaign and clearing the field of her opponents," GOP spokesman Aaron DeGroot said.
"Now she's repaying those debts by endorsing J.B. Pritzker, Madigan's favorite candidate for governor. Madigan is steamrolling all opposition to Pritzker, and Susana Mendoza is playing her part as a cog in Madigan's corrupt Chicago machine."