Accusing Governor Bruce Rauner of “injecting himself” into the Democratic primary, gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker reacted to new ads that feature conversations he had with former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
“Governor Rauner is clearly injecting himself into the Democratic primary because he doesn’t want to run against me,” Pritzker told NBC 5 on Friday.
The new ads feature taped conversations between Pritzker and Blagojevich, recorded during the time that the FBI was investigating the then-governor. In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, the candidate himself commented on the interview conducted by the FBI about the conversation.
They just wanted to know more about the conversation, if there was more that I could tell them about the conversation,” he said.
Pritzker says that he was telling Blagojevich on the tapes that he would be interested in being the state’s treasurer, not that he would be interested in the Senate seat vacated by former President Barack Obama.
“It’s not surprising that looking to do more public service is something I was interested in,” he said. “Who knew that he was doing things that were against the interests of the people?”
Pritzker was never accused or charged with wrongdoing in connection with his conversations with Blagojevich.
Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office for soliciting bribes for political appointments, including for Obama’s vacated Senate seat. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison after his trial in 2011.
Pritzker was speaking at a campaign event on Friday to support the legalization of marijuana, an issue that has come into more intense focus since the Trump Administration has begun to hint at potentially enforcing federal laws against the drug.