November 9, 2017

Challenger Ives: All Republicans facing a Rauner money gap

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

Republican candidate for governor Jeanne Ives is facing a huge fundraising gap in her primary challenge to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. But she's not alone.

Almost all Republicans are in the same boat. Rauner has become one of the largest donors to Republican candidates and the Republican Party in Illinois.

Ives says his influence is outsized.

"He's got, what, $72 million in his war chest?" Ives asked. "He's largely a self-funded candidate. He's sucked up all of the oxygen in terms of funding. Republicans aren't out there fundraising on their own. They are just reliant on this guy who is a multi-millionaire."

Colin Williams, the policy director at the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said Gov. Rauner has donated $75.6 million to political action committees during this election cycle.

"That includes $57.75 million to his own campaign committee, $9 million to Jim Durkin's campaign committee, $2.5 million to Liberty Principles PAC, and $2.25 million to Turnaround Illinois," Williams said. "The rest was smaller donations to the state and local GOP, as well as a few candidates."

When asked if she can keep up with Rauner's money, Ives simply says that the election shouldn't be about cash.

"If elections are decided on the size of your checkbook, then I don't know why we're going through this process," Ives said. "Why don't we just put J.B. Pritzker in the governor's office right now?"

A billionaire, Pritzker is considered the front-runner in a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

The primary is March 20, and the general election is Nov. 6.