Thursday morning’s announcement by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin that he plans to move Citadel’s headquarters from Chicago comes at an intriguing time politically for the billionaire hedge fund manager.
Illinois Republican voters are set to potentially reject some or all members of a slate of GOP candidates for office statewide on Tuesday, which Griffin has funded with $50 million and led by Aurora Mayor Richard Irwin. There is a bid for the Republican nomination for governor.
Considering the timing and political optics, it points to a possible opening concession speech. Irwin is in a heatedly contested six-way race for the nomination and is facing stiff opposition from Xenia’s State Sen. Darren Bailey.
Bailey is helped, in part, by a number of TV commercials paid for by the Democratic government’s JB Pritzker and the Pritzker-backed Democratic Governors Association, which label Bailey as “too conservative” for Illinois. It’s a backhand push for conservatives to support Bailey, who Democrats think will be easier to defeat in the fall.
In a statement Thursday morning, Irwin blamed Pritzker for the Citadel’s departure and “for refusing to accept what everyone sees is that his high-tax, pro-criminal administration is literally destroying jobs and businesses.” Driving out of state.”
“In the last month alone, Illinois lost Boeing, Caterpillar and now the Citadel,” Irvine said.
Adding a pitch to his candidacy, Irvine said, “It’s a clear pattern that shows no signs of ending until we beat the Pritzker in November, and I’m the only person in the race to have Has a proven record of success for taking back Illinois.”
Pritzker’s efforts to defeat Irwin in the GOP primary symbolize a bitter relationship between the state’s billionaire governor and Griffin. Griffin has often cited crime fears in Chicago as having the potential to move the citadel, blaming Pritzker and his policies, but not Mayor Lori Lightfoot, including the October 2021 incident at the Economic Club of Chicago. was involved.
In the November 2020 election, Griffin spent $53.75 million to oppose Pritzker’s signature agenda item, a proposed constitutional amendment that was rejected by voters to change the state from a flat-rate income tax to a graduate-rate levy. was. Pritzker spent $58 million to encourage its passage.
In the 2018 gubernatorial race, Griffin gave $22.5 million to one-time Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in his losing effort against Pritzker, who spent more than $170 million of his own money on his campaign. Griffin gave Rauner $13.5 million for his 2014 winning effort.
Also in 2020, Griffin pumped $4.5 million into a group opposing the retention of Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. Kilbride became the first court judge to lose a retention vote. This time, with the Supreme Court elections redistributed outside Cook County, Griffin has given the group more than $6.25 million.
All told, Illinois State Board of Elections records show, Griffin has contributed $179 million to state and local candidates, primarily Republicans, and organizations. But Griffin was also a financial supporter of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daly and Rahm Emanuel.
In May, Griffin announced that it was donating $25 million to launch two academies located at the University of Chicago to provide advanced police training to law enforcement leaders and violence prevention organizations.
Griffin has given nearly $40 million to various outside groups to influence the outcome of a nationwide congressional race running in the midterm elections. This has made him one of the top individual donors in the country involved in reshaping the Congress in this cycle.
Griffin is also a top personal donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave him $5 million.
If he decides to devote his resources to Florida, Griffin’s departure could mean an even more lousy fundraising future for Illinois Republicans, who have lobbied somewhat for Pritzker’s lavish spending on Democrats. had relied on his money to do so.