When Illinois’ wealthiest man, Ken Griffin, introduced Thursday that he plans to maneuver the headquarters of his funding agency from Chicago to Miami, it was not solely a significant growth for Citadel, it additionally got here at an intriguing time politically for the billionaire hedge fund supervisor.
Illinois Republican voters are poised on Tuesday to simply accept or reject some or all members of a slate of GOP candidates for statewide places of work that Griffin funded with $ 50 million. That slate is headed by Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who’s vying to be the Republican nominee for governor.
Contemplating the timing and political optics, it factors to a doubtlessly early concession speech. Irvin is in a hotly contested six-way race for the nomination and dealing with sturdy opposition from state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia.
Bailey has been helped, partially, by a slew of TV adverts paid for by Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and the Pritzker-backed Democratic Governors Affiliation that label Bailey as “too conservative” for Illinois. It’s a backhanded push for conservatives to again Bailey, who Democrats assume might be simpler to defeat within the fall.
In an announcement Thursday simply hours after Griffin’s announcement, Irvin blamed Pritzker for Citadel’s departure and for refusing “to acknowledge what everybody sees, which is that his high-tax, pro-criminal administration is actually driving jobs and companies out of state.”
“Within the final month alone, Illinois misplaced Boeing, Caterpillar and now Citadel,” Irvin mentioned, noting latest bulletins by the protection contractor and airplane-maker and Caterpillar Inc. that they’re transferring their company headquarters to Virginia and Texas, respectively.
Including a pitch for his candidacy, Irvin mentioned, “It is a clear sample that exhibits no indicators of ending until we beat Pritzker in November, and I am the one individual on this race with a confirmed report of success to take Illinois again.”
Illinois Home Republican chief Jim Durkin of Western Springs mentioned Griffin’s departure was an indication of the state’s modern-day enterprise local weather.
Durkin quoted Ian Fleming’s “Goldfinger,” wherein the villain instructed James Bond, “‘ They’ve a saying in Chicago. As soon as is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time, it is enemy motion. ‘ First it is Boeing. Second it is Caterpillar. Third, it’s Citadel, ”Durkin mentioned.
“I imply, this can be a enormous assertion. What we’re seeing with these company places of work, (Pritzker) simply can’t dismiss it as a few white collar jobs, ”he mentioned. “That is going to reverberate everywhere in the nation. That is what Illinois is correct now versus what it was once. ”
Griffin’s observe to staff mentioned his Citadel will relocate to new headquarters in Miami’s monetary district after greater than 30 years in Chicago. Citadel has about 1,000 staff in Chicago and can preserve an workplace within the metropolis.
Whereas Boeing and Caterpillar have introduced they’re leaving, Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner mentioned different huge companies, akin to Kellogg Co.have introduced they’re transferring to Illinois.
“We are going to proceed to welcome these companies – together with Kellogg, which simply this week introduced it’s transferring its largest headquarters to Illinois – and help rising industries which are already creating good jobs and investing billions in Illinois, like knowledge facilities, electrical autos and quantum computing, ”Bittner mentioned in an announcement.
Pritzker’s efforts to defeat Irvin within the GOP major symbolize the bitter relationship between the state’s billionaire governor and Griffin. Griffin had steadily cited fears of crime in Chicago as a possible motive for transferring Citadel, blaming Pritzker and his insurance policies however not Mayor Lori Lightfoot, together with at an October 2021 occasion on the Financial Membership of Chicago.
Within the November 2020 election, Griffin spent $ 53.75 million to oppose Pritzker’s signature agenda merchandise, a proposed constitutional modification rejected by voters to vary the state from a flat-rate revenue tax to a graduated-rate levy. Pritzker spent $ 58 million to encourage its passage.
Within the 2018 governor’s race, Griffin gave one-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner $ 22.5 million in his shedding reelection effort in opposition to Pritzker, who spent greater than $ 170 million of his personal cash on his marketing campaign. Griffin gave Rauner $ 13.5 million for Rauner’s successful 2014 effort.
Additionally in 2020, Griffin pumped $ 4.5 million into a bunch that opposed the retention of Democratic Illinois Supreme Courtroom Justice Thomas Kilbride. Kilbride went on to turn out to be the primary court docket justice to lose a retention vote. This time round, with elections outdoors of Cook dinner County for a redistricted Supreme CourtroomGriffin has given the group greater than $ 6.25 million.
Since 2002, the Illinois State Board of Elections data present, Griffin has contributed $ 179 million to state and native candidates, primarily Republicans, and organizations. However Griffin was additionally a monetary supporter of Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel.
In Might, Griffin introduced he was donating $ 25 million to launch two academies primarily based on the College of Chicago to supply superior police coaching to legislation enforcement leaders and violence interruption organizations.
Griffin additionally has roughly given $ 40 million to numerous outdoors teams searching for to affect the end result of congressional races throughout the nation within the midterm elections. That has made him one of many prime particular person donors within the nation concerned in reshaping Congress this cycle.
Griffin can be the highest particular person donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, giving him $ 5 million.
If he decides to dedicate his assets to Florida, Griffin’s departure may imply an much more depleted fundraising future for Illinois Republicans who had counted on his wealth to assist in half make up for Pritzker’s lavish spending on Democrats.
Whereas Republicans pounced on the information to blast Democratic management in Illinois and Chicago, at the least one main Chicago Democrat didn’t shed many tears about Citadel’s leaving.
US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Chicago mentioned the information of Citadel’s transfer “doesn’t come as a terrific shock” since Griffin had beforehand been transferring jobs out of Illinois.
“I assume he feels extra welcome as a Republican, as an archconservative, in a state the place DeSantis is governor,” Garcia, a progressive Democrat, mentioned earlier than an look on the Nationwide Affiliation of Latino Elected and Appointed Officers, which is holding its annual assembly in Chicago. “I want his staff properly.”
However Garcia mentioned he additionally will not be shocked if Griffin continues “meddling” in Illinois politics from his new locale.
“Billionaires can nonetheless have an effect on elections, irrespective of the place they’re,” he mentioned.