Chris Kennedy, son of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, announced on Wednesday his run for the governorship of Illinois. "I believe that we can restore the future of this state," said Kennedy, in an video signalling his run.
"I've seen from so many different vantage points the potential of this state, then I see the failing of the government," Kennedy goes on to say.
In an interview with ABC 7 Chicago, Kennedy started his campaign with a series of attacks on incumbent governor Bruce Rauner, who is expected to fight to keep his seat in 2018, calling him the worst governor "in the history of our state."
"We've gone two years without a budget and only one person is responsible for that and that's Gov. Rauner," Kennedy told the news channel. Republican Rauner and the Democratic state legislature have been at loggerheads over funding for the last two years.
The race is set to be an expensive one, with Kennedy pledging to spend $50m - $100m of his own fortune on the race. In the interview he also pointed to Rauner wealth, making the distinction between his real estate developments and Rauner's former chairmanship of a private equity firm: "I made money by employing people, by paying them. [Rauner's] whole career was about buying things and dismantling them, taking them apart."
Republicans in the state have quickly reacted to Kennedy's announcement by deriding him as a "pawn" of Michael Madigan, the Democratic House of Representatives Speaker that Republicans blame for the government's financial impasse.
"Chris Kennedy is committed to the Madigan Agenda and tried to give Madigan even more power. The last thing Illinois needs is a Madigan lap dog in the governor's office." The party said on an anti-Madigan website.
"I'm running for Governor because I believe this state is heading in the wrong direction." Kennedy says in his campaign video.