Metro-East News

Former congressman Jerry Costello makes endorsement in Democratic gubernatorial race

Former Congressman Jerry Costello
Former Congressman Jerry Costello

Former metro-east congressman Jerry Costello is backing J.B. Pritzker in the race for the Democratic nomination in next year’s gubernatorial election.

“I have met with leading candidates in the race, both J.B. and Chris Kennedy. I believe J.B. Pritzker is the type of person who will bring people together to get things done for the metro-east, Southern Illinois and the state,” Costello said Wednesday.

“Also, (he is) the only candidate who has released a jobs plan to help the economy, rebuild our infrastructure and help rural Illinois as well. I just think, too ... he’s a uniter, not a divider. He has a plan to help our economy that we sorely need at this time.”

Costello said he also met with Madison County Regional Office of Education Superintendent Bob Daiber before making his decision.

Costello, D-Belleville, served in Congress from 1988 to 2012.

The gubernatorial primary will be held in March to select the party’s nominee in the November 2018 general election.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to seek re-election, but he has yet to formally kick off a bid for another four years in the governor’s mansion.

The personal financial resources of Pritzker, who has put in more than $21 million of his own money into his campaign, was not the reason why Costello is backing the Chicago billionaire, he said.

“I want to see a governor who’s going to lead, who will produce a budget, which governor Rauner has not done,” Costello said. “I believe J.B. Pritzker will produce a budget, present it to the legislature, and set out with Republicans and Democrats to negotiate, so we don’t have to go through this fiasco again.

“Is it a factor that he can afford to run an effective campaign, and probably match dollar for dollar what Bruce Rauner is going to spend? That is a factor, but that’s not the reason I’m endorsing him,” Costello said.

The St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee also has endorsed Pritzker.

“After extensive travel throughout the state, J.B. looks forward to building more and more support in Southern Illinois,” said Galia Slayen, the communications director for the Pritzker campaign.

The Madison County Democratic Central Committee did not endorse any of the candidates for governor after none of those vying for the nomination received a majority of the votes during the local party’s Iowa-style caucus last month.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter