Democratic gubernatorial primary front-runner J.B. Pritzker Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news briefing. Have a great weekend!

  • J.B. Pritzker, Pat Quinn win top spots on March 2018 primary ballot

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner J.B. Pritzker and former governor Pat Quinn, now running for attorney general, will hold the top spots on the March 2018 Democratic ballot for their respective races. Pritzker and Quinn won lotteries to decide the coveted top spot after several candidates turned in their petitions when the Illinois State Board of Elections starting accepting them at 8 AM November 27. “I know that a lot of people do put a lot of time and energy into obtaining that first ballot position, so I would have to assume that there is something to it,” Illinois director of election operations Brent Davis said. Pritzker is facing six opponents in the gubernatorial race and Quinn is facing seven opponents in the race for attorney general. [Sun-Times]

  • State senate to hold hearings on Quincy Veterans Home deaths

Illinois senator Tom Cullerton is planning to hold public hearings after the New Year on the 13 Legionnaires’ disease deaths since 2015 at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. “We’re going to bring all of the veterans’ affairs department in front of us,” Cullerton, who is also the chairman of the senate’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told Politico. “We’ll get the families’ take on [what happened]. And then I’m also asking for a full audit commission report on the veterans’ home as well. On the Quincy Veterans home in particular—were there emergency purchases made? Who pushed forward how the money was spent?” Governor Bruce Rauner has come under fire for his administration’s alleged lack of concern over the deaths. “If he can’t manage a 200-acre veterans’ home with 250 residents, how can he manage the state?,” state representative Jeanne Ives, Rauner’s sole Republican challenger in the gubernatorial race, said in a statement. “Governor Rauner isn’t in charge, because he never took charge. And 13 veterans, or spouses of veterans, are now dead because of it.” Rauner’s office has denied any wrongdoing. [Illinois Politico Playbook] [State Journal-Register]

  • Emanuel makes odd joke about telling “second wife” that he’s running for president

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made an bizarre “joke” Wednesday about telling his “second wife” that he’s considering running for president. After denying that he’s considering running for president in 2020, Emanuel made the remarks during a news conference. “I know I’m going to get in trouble with Amy, so that’s why I’m saying this is a joke,” the mayor said. “Amy said . . . ‘A lot of people are chattering about your running for president—you’d better think about getting yourself a second wife if that happens.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ve talked to her already and she said ‘no,’ so I had to come back to you.’ ” [Tribune]

  • Scottie Pippen: LeBron James is “probably” better than Jordan

Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen has upset 1990s Bulls fans by weighing in on the debate over who’s the greatest basketball player of all time. Pippen sparked controversy by saying that Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is “probably” better than icon Michael Jordan. “The numbers don’t lie. He’s right there,” Pippen said on ESPN’s First Take. “He probably will never catch him in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there. And when you look across the board—not just scoring—check his assists, check his rebounds . . . he’s probably ahead of Jordan.” [Sun-Times]

  • Traveling on December 21? Expect Chicago’s largest holiday traffic jam

The worst traffic jam of the holiday season is expected to hit during the evening rush hour on Thursday December 21. Between 4 and 6 PM travel times could triple due to the mix of holiday travelers and commuters on the roads, according to AAA estimates. [Tribune]

  • Chicago’s second cat cafe set to open in Bucktown Saturday

The city’s second cat cafe is set to open in Bucktown Saturday. Located at 1760 W. North, the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe and Lounge will bring in coffee drinks from nearby Gallery Cafe. The cats will come from Roscoe Village’s Alive Rescue and will be available for adoption. [Eater Chicago]