‘Get back home’: Gov. Pritzker criticized by GOP rival over recent trips raising national profile

CHICAGO (WLS) — Governor JB Pritzker continues to raise his national profile, and with it, speculation about a presidential run in 2024.

However, it’s also fueling criticism from his Republican rival Darren Bailey.

For the second time in a month, Gov. Pritzker is traveling out of state to be a keynote speaker at a Democratic gathering. This time in Florida, the backyard of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also considered a potential presidential contender.

Pritzker was also in Washington this week for a White House gun safety ceremony and is now in Maine for a Democratic Governor’s Convention.

It is his Saturday trip to Florida to be the keynote speaker for that state’s Democratic Party fundraiser, with tickets ranging between $300 and $1,000 each, that has sparked criticism from his GOP rival.

“I’ve got a message to Governor Pritzker: Get back home. Let’s work on surging police support in Chicago, and let’s slash your gas tax and stop campaigning for president,” said State Senator Darren Bailey, (R) Candidate for Governor.

“Florida is in dire need of a pro-choice, Democratic governor, and Governor Pritzker is proud to support the Florida Democratic Party in their efforts to flip the state blue,” said Natalie Edelstein, JB for Governor Communications Director, in defense of Pritzker’s trip.

“He is a go-to potential candidate in the Democratic Party right now. People want to hear from him, people want to see him [and] they see him as a new voice. He’s also trying to position himself to be perceived that way,” said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington. “He’s trying to send a strong message that he’s ready to be perceived as a national player.”

Pritzker has repeatedly said that his focus is on being governor.

However, Washington expects his speech Saturday will be watched very closely.

“He’s gonna have a lot to say about abortion; he’s gonna have a lot to say about gun control; he’s going to have a lot to say about a lot of the issues that Democrats are really pushing for the fall elections. He wants to position himself as being a voice going into the midterm elections,” Washington said.