JTA: In Democratic race for Illinois governor, the two top candidates are Jewish. The similarity ends there.

February 23, 2018

The Land of Lincoln’s next governor may well be a Jewish Democrat. It just isn’t clear what kind of Jewish Democrat he will be.

Two Jewish candidates are the front-runners in the Illinois Democratic gubernatorial primary in March, and both are favored to defeat the unpopular Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, in the general election. Among the Democrats, a son of the Kennedy family also is in the running.

But between the two Jewish Democrats, religion and political party are where the similarities end.

J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire venture capitalist with ties to establishment Democrats, has enjoyed a commanding lead in the polls. But Daniel Biss is gaining — he’s a state senator who has aligned himself squarely with the progressive movement of Bernie Sanders.