RFK's Son, Chris Kennedy, Announces Run for Illinois Governor

Chris Kennedy, son of the late Robert "Bobby" Kennedy, threw his hat into the ring in Illinois' race for governor on Wednesday. He will run as a Democrat seeking to replace Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican who is among the nation's least popular governors.

The candidate says he's lived in IL for more than 30 years and told supporters in an email that the state is going the wrong direction. Kennedy is the second Democrat in the state to announce a gubernatorial bid. He is one of four grandchildren of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy born during the administration of his uncle, U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

State Democrats have been searching for a high-profile, and perhaps independently wealthy, candidate to take on the deep-pocketed Rauner in what is expected to be an expensive race. He previously managed Chicago's Merchandise Mart and is leading the development of a more than $1 billion development in downtown Chicago known as Wolf Point.

"The people of IL deserve to know whether potential gubernatorial candidates will be independent of Mike Madigan", Yaffee said.

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Kennedy and his wife, Shelia, run Top Box Foods, a hunger-relief nonprofit they founded to deliver foods to underserved neighborhoods. He also served as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees from 2009 through 2015.

Mr. House said the Kochs will attempt to sway IL elections and help Gov. Rauner "through shadow organizations and shady PACs (political action committees)". The real estate developer compared his wealth to that of Rauner who chaired a private equity firm. "We need to bring people together, and come up with a solution that works for everyone in every part of the state". "I made money by employing people, by paying them".

Kennedy plans to tackle Rauner's failures as well as try to rebuild the state's dire economy. Illinois Republican Party spokesman said Madigan has endorsed Kennedy's run for governor "because he knows that Kennedy will never stand up to him". The election for the IL governor's office is slated for the 2018 cycle.

  • Alfonso Moody