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Pritzker Moves Closer To Illinois Gubernatorial Bid

(CBS) –  Entrepreneur and investor J.B. Pritzker moved a step closer to running for Illinois governor on Tuesday, with the announcement that he has started an exploratory committee with $200,000 in seed money.

Pritzker is the latest Democrat to test the political waters in hopes of defeating incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a billionaire who will seek a second term.

"As I've traveled across Illinois I've listened to people express their deep concerns about the direction of our state.  It is clear that having a Governor who's unwilling to address our state's challenges is having a real impact on people's lives," Pritzker said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to continuing my conversations with people across Illinois who are currently being forced to pay the price of failed leadership from Governor Rauner."

Pritzker's contribution of $200,000 will cover day-to-day operation of the exploratory committee. Lee Rosenberg – Pritzker's chief of staff at The Pritzker Group -- will serve as chair and treasurer.

Other Democrats expressing an interest in seeking their party's nomination include Chicago businessman Chris Kennedy and Chicago 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar.

The Illinois Republican Party wasted no time Tuesday in taking shots at Pritzker. The GOP sought to associate him with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, a Rauner political nemesis.

"J.B. Pritzker is a tainted political insider who would only make Mike Madigan and the Chicago Political Machine stronger," Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe said in a prepared statement.

Pritzker did not make himself available for interviews Tuesday.

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