J.B. Pritzker Announces Run for Illinois Governor

The 2018 race for Illinois governor likely will be the most expensive ever.

Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday he’s formally a candidate.

"Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself," he said at a rally. "My name is J.B. Pritzker, and I'm running for governor of Illinois."

Pritzker joins a growing field of candidates, including [a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Kennedy-Rauner-is-Holding-the-State-Budget-Hostage-415804733.html">Chris Kennedy[/a], State Sen. [a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Sen-Biss-Announces-Run-for-Governor-416621413.html">Daniel Biss[/a], Chicago Ald. [a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/First-Official-Hat-in-the-Democratic-Ring-Ald-Ameya-Pawar-409521415.html">Ameya Pawar[/a], downstate school Supt. Bob Daiber and business owner [a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/-29-Year-Old-Suburban-Democrat-Running-for-Governor-412357043.html">Alex Paterakis[/a].

The 52-year-old is a member of the Pritzker family, well known for owning the Hyatt hotel chain and his time as a powerful Democratic fundraiser. Pritzker was deeply involved in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns as well contributing generously to candidates from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

Pritzker, a venture capitalist, is capable of self-funding his campaign, with Forbes listing his net worth as 3.4 billion, making him the 161st richest American in 2014.

He lost an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1998. His sister Penny Pritzker served in the Obama administration.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has already focused on a possible Pritzker candidacy, with robocalls attacking Pritzker, noting his ties to former Governor Rod Blagojevich.