Former residents of places like New York, California, and Illinois continue to seek refuge from COVID mandates, increasing amounts of violent crime, and punishing tax and economic policies in states like Florida, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, and South Carolina.
One person triggered by this exodus of former constituents was Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat and someone who’s been recently touted as a potential contender to President Joe Biden in 2024.
Pritzker, as The Daily Wire reported on Friday, was galled by the move of one person in particular: Ken Griffin, the CEO of the investment management firm Citadel.
Griffin recently announced that his company was fleeing crime-ridden Chicago for Miami.
The CEO himself, according to Daily Wire, has already found a new home in the Sunshine State – which also means Illinois lost its wealthiest citizen to the place Democrats paint as an alleged hellscape managed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin, who boasts a personal net worth of $29 billion, told employees, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here. I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”
Pritzker exhibited his anger and frustration with Griffin and other critics of his state in a speech he gave at the recent Leadership Blue conference put on by the Florida Democratic Party.
“For a full year, Republicans have been screaming about crime. They particularly like to target my home city of Chicago. Just for the record, Chicago should be no one’s punching bag,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful city that boasts glorious summer festivals, the very best cultural institutions, entertainment and food, and the kindest and most amazing people you will ever meet. It’s the birthplace of gospel music and the Blues Brothers. It’s where Barack Obama came from. We’re a diverse, compelling place with a proud history. And we’re hoping to host you all in Chicago for the 2024 Democratic National Convention.”
He then turned his sights on Griffin.
“So like a spoiled rich kid, Griffin announced he was taking his toys and leaving Illinois,” Pritzker added. “Where did he move to? You guessed it. His $400 million, 20-acre Palm Beach estate. And he’s one of Ron DeSantis’ largest donors.”
“Really really sorry about that.”
Pritzker then noted that Griffin and former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican with a net worth of more than $400 million who also relocated to Florida, would say they are not “from the Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party. Instead they would say they’re DeSantis Republicans – which is a little bit like saying you’ve never been a fan of Darth Vader but you support the Empire’s political agenda.”
Of course, while he was whining about some of his state’s wealthiest residents running for the exits, Pritzker, himself a billionaire, left out one important point in his speech to fellow Democrats from Florida.
According to a Patch.com report from April 2020, Pritzker owns a $12 million horse farm in the wealthy equestrian community of Wellington, in Palm Beach County, with neighbors who include Bruce Springsteen, Bill Gates, and Billy Joel.
For weeks in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, Pritzker’s wife and daughter lived in Florida, while he was imposing draconian mandatory lockdowns on Illinois residents.
As Patch columnist Mark Konkol noted at the time, “There’s no getting around the ironic, political intrigue of Illinois’ first lady quietly spending time out of the public eye at one of the family vacation homes while so many non-billionaires financially and emotionally struggle under her husband’s newly extended coronavirus stay-at-home order, the second-longest in America.”
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Yet as RealClearPolitics columnist Steve Cortes noted on Friday, the impact of Pritzer’s leadership failings have extended beyond the likes of Griffin and Rauner.
Pritzker’s Illinois has overseen “a miserable loss of $8.5 billion [in personal earnings] from its fleeing citizens.”
“Adjusted for population, only New York state fared worse than Illinois in losing people and incomes to Florida,” Cortes wrote.
“This coming November, the good people of the Land of Lincoln would be well served by retiring Pritzker from politics, freeing him up to spend uninterrupted time in DeSantis’ Florida.”