Pawar not a serious Democratic contender for governor, critic says
The Chicago alderman little known outside of the Windy City who recently tweeted his run for governor will end up a footnote in the race given the other talent the Democratic Party can summon, a host of a talk show recently said.
Alderman Ameya Pawar, who represents Chicago's 47th Ward, would be up against a number of other Democratic contenders, Illinois Rising Host Dan Proft said during a recent edition of the show.
Proft referred specifically to a Chicago-area family known for its entrepreneurship, investments and philanthropy; the outgoing Obama administration's U.S. secretary of commerce; a member of the long-time politically active Kennedy family; and the U.S. congressional representative from Illinois' 17th District.
Pawar won't be able to beat that, according to Proft.
"Not exactly the odds on favorite to be the Democrat nominee when you've got billionaires like J.B. Pritzker, Penny Pritzker talking about it, Chris Kennedy -- you have to go through the swallows of Capistrano routine with Chris Kennedy -- he's interested in it again," Proft said. "A more serious candidate, in my estimation, would be Cheri Bustos, the central Illinois congresswoman. I think she would be formidable."
Proft also mentioned 7th District state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and 2nd District U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly as possible strong Democrat contenders for Illinois governor in 2018.
Pawar, who has represented the 47th Ward since 2011, announced on Twitter that he will run for governor in 2018. The 47th Ward includes Lakewood, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square.
Proft, however, voiced certain objections.
"Big fan of higher taxes," he said. "He's voted for higher property taxes in Chicago. He likes, for example, the idea of a graduated income tax."
Proft also commented on Pawar's own reference to his constituents, who Pawar said appreciated his courage to raise taxes and being re-elected.
"And he was," Proft said. "And that says something about why we have the representation we do, why we have the government we do, which is why we have the city and the state we do in its current fiscal condition, respectively."
Though Proft dismissed Pawar as a weak candidate, he said aGov. Bruce Rauner's re-election isn't a guarantee, especially considering the amount of talent, money and prestige that the Democrat candidate could have.
"And they put together the resources behind such a person, which could absolutely happen, and we're in this stasis that we've been in for the last two years and may be in for another two, and Gov. Rauner doesn't find another opportunity to move his chips to the table -- to the middle of the table, that is -- and go all in on something that defines the race, then he's going to be in trouble," Proft said.
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