Blair Hull, the Democratic candidate known for spending a mountain of cash in his failed bid for U.S. Senate, is backing Bruce Rauner — a Republican also known for spending a so-far much smaller mountain of cash on his bid for Illinois governor.
For Hull, part of Rauner’s appeal is that he is a multimillionaire.
“I admire wealthy people who want to serve,” Hull told the Sun-Times in an interview last week. “I admire people like Michael Bloomberg, and I think he did a great job. People who are wealthy can really do what they believe, they can push for the right reforms.”
Hull, a securities trader, ran in the 2004 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and sank $28 million of his own money into his campaign
Hull lost to Barack Obama, who later went on to win the general election and, eventually, the presidency.
Rauner so far has spent about $6.5 million of his own money — $21.5 million less than what Hull spent in the primary alone — and raised $9.1 million in all to date, campaign records show.
Rauner first caught Hull’s eye with his support for a term-limits initiative that’s on the November ballot.
Hull describes term limits as an issue that first got him interested in politics.
Another issue is the Yes for Independent Maps campaign, a cause for which Hull has donated $50,000 so far this year. The third is a group called No Labels in Washington D.C.
“It’s an attempt to get Republicans and Democrats to work together and pass the things that they agree on,” he said. “I also do think that Bruce has progressive social values. I think that he’s less corruptible than others. He can do the right thing. He doesn’t need to get re-elected again. I think our chances of creating change that’s meaningful for our society is through an independent voice.”
Hull has long been a friend to the Democratic National Committee, to President Obama as well as to the now-imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
As Blagojevich showed, Hull can be a valuable financial resource. Hull gave Blagojevich nearly half a million dollars in straight donations, loans and such in-kind gifts as the use of his private plane.
Hull even once gave to former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in his 2002 bid for governor. Vallas is now slated as Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate.
But the only check Hull has written in the gubernatorial race is for Rauner.
Hull penned a $5,000 check to Rauner in April.
When asked if more financial backing was on the way, Hull laughed.
“He doesn’t need my money. He’s got a lot more money than I do,” Hull said. As for the $5,000 check he wrote to Rauner: “It was emotional support.”