DeSantis Wins Huge Victory Over Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

What will be a great loss for Democratic-run Illinois will be a major win for Florida, a free state ruled by Republicans.

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Crime and violence in Chicago have been an increasing problem under Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Now, Chicago is soon to experience a huge loss – and Florida’s GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is the big winner.

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Citadel Securities, owned by Chicago’s richest man Ken Griffin, has announced that it is moving its headquarters to Miami due in part to the Windy City’s massive crime problem. Griffin is Chicago’s third-richest individual with $22 billion in assets.

According to the Washington Examiner, Griffin informed his employees that the office was moving in a letter, and according to his top officials, crime was one of the main reasons for the move, even though he didn’t specifically blame it on crime.

“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” he remarked in a recent interview.

“I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work, countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

After spending more than 30 years in Illinois, Griffin and his company are moving to Florida to set up the business there.

“Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American dream,” Griffen said of the city, which is overseen by a Republican mayor and descendant of Cuba, Frances Suarez.

“I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family, and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy,” Griffin added.

As reported by POLITICO:

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It stings either way for Illinois, which has benefited from Griffin’s philanthropy to the tune of $600 million — including putting his money where his mouth is and funding $35 million in crime-fighting technology and education programs. Griffin’s exit to Florida (his home state) also follows news that Caterpillar and Boeing companies are moving their HQs out of Illinois, too.

Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were quick to remind that companies are still moving into Illinois. Kellogg Co., for example, announced earlier this week it’s opening its HQ here.

The big question for Playbook readers: Will Griffin still be engaged in Illinois politics? It will depend on the primary, a person told Playbook.

As the Tribune points out in its thorough report: “Since 2002, Illinois State Board of Elections records show, Griffin has contributed $179 million to state and local candidates, mainly Republicans, and organizations.

In addition to this, Politico reports that Griffin, who has an estimated net worth of around $27 billion, recently donated $50 million to the campaign of Republican Richard Irvin for governor, but in the wake of polls showing Irvin losing, Griffin announced he was moving Citadel Securities to Miami.

In spite of that, the outlet went on to say, “In reality, Griffin has been talking about leaving Chicago since before Irvin was a glimmer in our political eyes. Announcing the company’s departure before the election — instead of after — means critics can’t say Griffin’s leaving because Irvin may have lost.”

It has been reported that Governor Pritzker, who is also a billionaire with an estimated worth of $3.6 billion, had spent heavily to promote much more conservative Republican challenger Darren Bailey in the Republican primary.

Pritzker believes Bailey will be easier to defeat in the fall election because of his conservatism, according to Politico.

According to a recent Forbes interview, billionaire Griffin was also a big backer of DeSantis, but in that article, Griffin said he wasn’t comfortable with DeSantis taking on Disney’s special status, after sparring with the entertainment giant over a parental rights law.

It’s “mind-blowing that this is an item of debate,” Griffin said of the law.

“I actually think this is a really important point of view that [DeSantis] has,” Griffin said. “I happen to agree with it.”

In addition, he added, “I don’t appreciate Governor DeSantis going after Disney’s tax status. It can be portrayed, or feel, or look like retaliation.”

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The billionaire did say in support of DeSantis, that “He’s done a lot of things right” –

That includes the much-debated “Don’t Say Gay” bill, signed into law by DeSantis in March, that bans schools from instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for kindergarteners through third graders. It’s “mind blowing that this is an item of debate,” Griffin said of the law, which critics have said will harm the LGBTQ community.

“I actually think this is a really important point of view that [DeSantis] has,” Griffin said. “I happen to agree with it.”

The Forbes article added, “The billionaire investor and political kingmaker issued a clear warning: ‘It’s important that the leaders in both parties stay above the fray when it comes to retaliation against corporate America.’”