The line from Bruce Rauner’s checkbook to his campaign fund continues to run green with cash. The Winnetka businessman and frontrunner in the GOP primary election donated another $1 million of his own money to his own campaign fund, making it now $6 million to his campaign that is self-funded. That sets a record for an Illinois governor race.
From the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson:
Rauner, a Winnetka businessman who is perhaps the wealthiest candidate ever to run for public office in Illinois, has now raised $14 million ahead of the March 18 primary election — far and away eclipsing the combined money-raising efforts of Republican rivals state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa.
The previous record for personal money in an Illinois governor race came in 2006, when Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz and his wife donated $5.3 million only to lose the primary election. Still, Rauner has a ways to go to top the U.S. Senate bids of Blair Hull, who spent $28.6 million of his own money to lose the 2004 Democratic primary to Barack Obama, and Peter Fitzgerald, who spent nearly $12 million from his own pocket to win in 1998.
Rauner’s personal money and tapping of deep-pocketed Republican donors has allowed him to maintain an expensive presence on the state’s television airwaves and surge to front runner status while his opponents have been unable to put together the resources for a sustained TV blitz.
While Pearson points out Rauner’s opponents have been unable to raise the resources for sustained TV exposure, Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard announced they will both have ads out on the airwaves within the next few days.
From the Southern Illinoisan’s Kurt Erickson:
With two weeks left before voters head to the polls, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, is scheduled to begin airing a biographical television ad beginning today, campaign spokesman Wes Bleed said Monday.
Also Monday, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, announced in a newsletter to supporters that he’ll be joining Dillard and Rauner on television in the coming days.
“We’ll also be up on TV and radio this week for the duration of the campaign, so keep an eye out and an ear open for our ads!” the newsletter noted.
The two are scrambling to gain some traction in a race that has been dominated by the previously unknown Rauner’s rise in the polls thanks to millions of dollars in media spending.
Propelled by new money from the state’s two teachers’ unions, Dillard is planning to run his ads on a handful of cable channels statewide.
Bleed said Monday he didn’t know how long the ads would run.
“We’re going to keep them going as long as we can,” Bleed said.
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