Democratic Party Candidates for Illinois Governor: Bob Daiber and Chris Kennedy

Written by John Biver

Last time we wrote about Daniel Biss, an Illinois state senator who has declared his candidacy for governor in the Democratic Party’s primary. Today we’ll introduce two more:

  • Bob Daiber of Marine, Illinois, former teacher, current Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools.
  • Chris Kennedy of Kenilworth, a real estate investor, former Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and member of the Kennedy family.

Bob Daiber, 60 years-old, from downstate Marine, Illinois (just east of Edwardsville), entered the race for governor back in February. He is married, has two sons, worked as a teacher for 28 years, and is a fourth-generation Madison County resident. Here are a few items from his “Meet Bob” page at his website put into bullet points:

  • A public official with over twenty years of experience, a background in education and a proven record as an advocate for labor.
  • While serving as Regional Superintendent of Schools, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the statewide President.
  • Bob is known for being a strong advocate for public education, local government, and organized labor.

As expected, all of the candidates are emphasizing the obvious mess that our state is in fiscally. This is from a short article at Belleville News-Democrat about Daiber’s campaign:

“The state of Illinois needs to get stability in its economic management,” Daiber said about the reason he wants to lead the state government. “There’s got to be something done.”

If elected, he said he would work to find a “compromise” to settle the state’s budget woes.

Daiber’s entry into the race was a surprise to some politicos. Going up against multi-millionaire Chris Kennedy and others with a higher profile make him an underdog. This, also from the Belleville News-Democrat, doesn’t help inspire confidence in his campaign: “He unsuccessfully ran for state representative three times in the 1990s.”

Daiber has stated that his “grassroots support” which is “second to none” will make up for the fact that he can’t self-fund as Kennedy. In his announcement, Daiber bemoaned cuts to higher ed, addressed crime, at risk youth, and stated his support for collective bargaining for state workers and his opposition to Illinois becoming a “right to work” state.

He said that Governor Rauner “promised he would shake things up,” and has accomplished that goal: “Our state has become a jumbled mess and the average citizen is losing faith in our government.”

Our next candidate is Chris Kennedy, 53 years-old, son of the late Robert Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, and the late (and very liberal) U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy family has been in the spotlight since Chris’ grandfather Joseph P. Kennedy got rich in banking and securities trading, and served as the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and then as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Chris was four years-old when his father was killed while running for president.

Chris Kennedy married Sheila Sinclair-Berner, an Illinois native, and moved to Illinois in 1986. Kennedy has helped manage the Kennedy family’s sizable real estate interests in Chicago, and has been involved in many charitable and civic organizations over the years. While active politically as a Kennedy family member, this is his first run for public office.

When he announced his candidacy, he went right after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner:

I think Gov. Rauner’s taken a state government budget problem and turned it into economic chaos for the rest of the state. I don’t think it needed to go that way. And I think it’s fixable.

Here is the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson outlining the potential general election race:

Given the prospect of two wealthy businessmen atop the November 2018 Illinois ballot, Kennedy sought to separate himself from Rauner’s background in acquisitions, mergers and finance.

“I’ve spent my whole career building things up. I made money by paying other people. Gov. Rauner has done just the opposite. He’s made money by tearing things down, breaking them apart. He’s made money by firing people,” Kennedy said.

At the DuPage County Democratic Fundraiser last fall, Chris Kennedy gave a preview of his campaign’s message:

The governor is turning a government budget problem into a statewide economic crisis. He has thrown a million people—children, the elderly, the disabled—out of state programs in the first 18 months of his tenure, and he has not asked any member of his economic class to make the slightest of sacrifices. The suffering and chaos he has unleashed need to end. As we deal with the economic issues we face at the hands of a budget held hostage, our focus must be on ensuring that everyone in every part of our state has opportunity for a good job and a long career.

On the “Comments from Chris” page at his website, many of the Democratic Party’s talking points are touched on — here are some of the topic headings: Budget Cuts, Economic Justice, Education Justice, Global Example, Minimum Wage, Organized Labor, Sustainability / Environment / Green Energy.

Kennedy also talks up the importance of small business — many of which have been leaving the state due to high taxes. Two more of his topics were “Economic Anxiety” and “Jobs & Economic Growth.” How he can satisfy Leftist appetites for spending while creating jobs and economic growth remains to be seen.

The word “invest” appears as expected, and often that can be translated into the call for the use of even more taxpayers’ dollars into liberal interest groups. Speaking of investing, Kennedy deposited $250,000 into his campaign account last month.

Up next: the other two declared candidates.

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