Ten campaign staffers for Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Democrat of racial discrimination.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the staffers, nine of whom are black and one who is Latina, claim in the lawsuit that the Pritzker campaign “herded” them into “race-specific positions.”
The lawsuit alleges that in their positions, the plaintiffs were “expected to interact with the public, offered no meaningful chance for advancement, and receive less favorable treatment than their white counterparts.”
The plaintiffs also claim that one organizer was recruited to “meet a ‘Black Female organizer quota.’”
The Pritzker campaign denied the allegations, calling them “just not true.”
“I am incredibly proud of our campaign, how diverse it is, and how inclusive our administration will be,” Pritzker said in a statement, according to the Tribune.
The Democrat’s campaign on Wednesday produced part of a letter from the plaintiffs’ attorneys, in which they requested $7.5 million to settle the case, as well as asked the campaign to hire a diversity officer.
Pritzker’s running mate, Juliana Stratton, said the letter, sent in early October, was not a “good-faith effort,” but added that “when people feel like they have been harassed or discriminated against, they have the right to come forward and have their voices heard.”
Incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner called the new lawsuit “troubling,” and told the Tribune that he thinks they need to be investigated.
“Unfortunately, this seems to be a pattern with Mr. Pritzker,” Rauner said. “I’m not sure that any of us should be surprised that his campaign may have engaged in discriminatory practices.”
Rauner has targeted his opponent over 2008 comments made to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about black politicians that were caught on a wiretap of Blagojevich’s phone. In the conversation with Blagojevich about filling Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE’s vacant Senate seat, Pritzker encouraged the appointment of Secretary of State Jesse White to “cover you on the African-American thing.”
He also dismissed other black politicians as “crass” and “a nightmare,” comments which he later apologized for, according to The Tribune.
Pritzker currently holds a double-digit lead over Rauner, according to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls.
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