Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is calling on his successor in the state house to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus by cancelling the state’s primary.
Blagojevich, who recently had his prison term commutated by President Donald Trump, issued a statement on Monday urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) to postpone the presidential and statewide primaries Illinois has scheduled for Tuesday. In making his argument, Blagovjevich pushed the governor to abide by recent Trump administration guidlines calling on Americans to avoid gatherings of ten-or-more and Pritzker’s own decision to close all restaurants and bars in the state for at least two weeks.
“I am calling on Gov. Pritzker to listen to the president’s coronavirus task force, health officials, and the scientists and experts … and immediately postpone tomorrow’s primary,” Blagojevich said.
The former governor’s call comes as the coronavirus pandemic reaches new heights. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control announced there were more than 24,000 individuals testing positive for the virus. Although the cases are widespread throughout the country, more densely populated states and regions have seen higher numbers of the virus. Despite the patter, Prtizker, who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, has refused suggestions he follow the lead of Louisiana and Georgia by rescheduling the primary for a later date.
“To expect people to stand in crowded lines, occupying the same space, and suing the voting equipment is not just irresponsible, its dangerous,” Blagojevich said on Monday, asserting that no “citizen should have to choose between running the risk of infecting themsleves and their loved ones, or participating in the democratic process.”
“Politics can wait,” he added. “Public health must come first.”
Blagojevich, a Democrat, served as governor of Illinois between 2003 and 2009, when he was impeached and removed from office for public corruption. The story generated widespread media attention, especially after it emerged the governor had attempted to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama upon his election to the presidency. In June 2011, Blagojevich was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison, of which he has served nearly eight. The sentence was considered by many to be unduly harsh, given the former governor’s lack of a criminal record.
Since emerging from prison, the former governor has been vocal in his defense of the president and has shown a willingness to call out his own party for its abandonment of blue-collar voters.
“When I say I’m a Trumpocrat—and hopefully a lot of others are as well, and I believe they are—it’s largely because the Democratic Party has not only left us, but it’s abandoned traditional Democratic constituencies like working people,” Blagojevich told Breitbart News Saturday last month.