Call it the battle of the billionaires.
Ken Griffin, the Chicago billionaire who runs hedge fund giant Citadel and owns the enormous market-making firm Citadel Securities, says he’s "all-in" to back a candidate to try and defeat fellow billionaire and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.
"I’m going to make sure that if he runs again, that I am all-in to support the candidate who will beat him," Griffin said Wednesday during comments he made at the DealBook Online Summit hosted by The New York Times. "He doesn’t deserve to be the governor of our state."
Griffin, a longtime foe of Pritzker, charged that the governor "called me a liar….It’s all about politics for him. It’s not about people." Griffin was referring to comments made by Pritzker’s camp last month after he criticized the governor over the rise in crime in Chicago and mulled whether to move his investment firm out of the city.
Griffin, who’s worth is $21 billion according to Forbes, is the wealthiest person in Illinois and a heavy donor to Republican political action committees. Pritzker, a Hyatt Hotels heir, is worth $3.6 billion according to Forbes.
Pritzker is running for reelection next year for a second four-year term. Griffin, in his comments, didn’t discuss which Republican candidates he believed could topple Pritzker.
There are already four candidates vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination: state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, Gary Rabine of Bull Valley, and Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg.
Republican Reps. Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Adam Kinzinger of Chaannahon are mulling bids for governor.