CHICAGO — Pot-friendly Democrat J.B Pritzker has won the gubernatorial race in Illinois, according to the ABC news.
The incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner conceded the race for governor shortly after the polls closed at an event at The Drake Hotel on Tuesday.
Pritzker has said that he would legalize marijuana in Illinois if he were governor to decrease opioid overdoses in the state as well as generate revenue by taxing recreational marijuana. More than 11,000 people have died in the state since 2008 from opioid overdoses; states with legal marijuana have less opioid-related deaths.
The Hyatt heir billionaire spent more than $171 million to fund his campaign against Rauner over a two-year period, the highest amount a candidate has spent of their own money in U.S. history, according to Forbes. Rauner spent $57 million of his own money as well for his re-election campaign and the contentious gubernatorial race subjected voters to constant negative television attack ads.
Rauner accused Pritzker of receiving a $330,000 in tax breaks and defrauding voters while Pritzker accused Rauner and his administration of mishandling an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a veterans' home that killed several veterans.
Pritzker to Be the Richest Elected Official in Office
Pritzker will be the richest elected official in office with Forbes reporting his fortune at $3.3 billion. The Democrat also promised during his campaign to reform the criminal justice system by legalizing marijuana and commuting the sentences of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses while ending mass incarceration in the state. Ninety percent of the arrests for marijuana in Chicago are people of color.
The governor-elect also said that he would create jobs in the communities most targeted during the war on drugs and include minorities in plans to set up a regulatory system for legalized marijuana.
Pritzker tweeted his appreciation to the voters of the state. "Thank you. This victory is ours to share, and it's just the beginning. Together, with the help of every single one of you, @JulianaforLG and I will continue to fight for Illinoisans as your next Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Illinois."
Pritzker believes that legalizing marijuana in the state could generate between $350 and $700 million in tax revenue annually. When Pritzker is inaugurated in January, he will be inheriting more than $7 billion of the state's bills to manage.