Primary season kicks off Tuesday in Texas, but the Illinois primary on March 20 marks the first gubernatorial primary of any consequence.

Democrats were long expected to hold at least an interesting primary, although it was anyone’s guess whether it would be truly competitive. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was expected to get just nominal opposition. With 18 days to go, it seems that both parties are holding primaries that are more competitive and interesting than expected.

As a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, Rauner has had a target on his back since the day he was elected in 2014. There was a long list of Democrats looking at the race, but the field winnowed to three first-tier candidates: state Sen. Dan Biss; Chris Kennedy, a businessman and son of the late Robert Kennedy; and billionaire venture capitalist and philanthropist J.B. Pritzker. There are also four minor candidates on the Democratic ballot.

By virtue of his wealth and his family’s deep roots in Chicago, Pritzker has always been viewed as the frontrunner. Most observers believed that Kennedy would be Pritzker’s

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