Chris Kennedy Announces Bid for Illinois Governor

Chris Kennedy announced his candidacy for governor with an email and a campaign video. | Screenshot

Chris Kennedy, son of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, announced on Wednesday his run for the governorship of IL.

He's expected to run against current Governor, republican Bruce Rauner, if he wins the primary.

"We need a governor who will fight for reform, not another Mike Madigan-first politician", said party spokesman Steven Yaffe.

The candidate says he's lived in IL for more than 30 years and told supporters in an email that the state is going the wrong direction.

Republicans in the state have quickly reacted to Kennedy's announcement by deriding him as a "pawn" of Michael Madigan, the Democratic House of Representatives Speaker that Republicans blame for the government's financial impasse.

The eighth of Robert F. Kennedy's 11 children is planning a career change from business to politics. Until April 2012, he was also president of Merchandise Mart Properties, a commercial-property management firm based in Chicago. Kennedy says IL has never been in worse shape and he wants to turn it around.

Kennedy and his wife, Shelia, run Top Box Foods, a hunger-relief nonprofit they founded to deliver foods to underserved neighborhoods. Madigan, who serves as the chairman of the Democratic Party of IL, said Kennedy would make an "excellent candidate" for governor. Kennedy says he knows "how an economy is meant to function, not just for the rich, but for members of all communities".

That drew an attack from the Illinois GOP, which has worked to link any potential rivals to Madigan, Rauner's staunchest opponent at the Illinois Capitol. On Wednesday, the Republican Party in IL launched a website that called Chris Kennedy "a pawn of Mike Madigan". "I made money by employing people, by paying them". She ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for state treasurer in 2010. "We need to bring people together, and come up with a solution that works for everyone in every part of the state".

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