Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger’s bid to remain in office is now poised to become the most expensive state race of the campaign season, with billionaires Richard Uihlein and Ken Griffin contributing $5 million to her warchest.
Uihlein, Griffin and Gov. Bruce Rauner are the top contributors for Illinois Republicans, funneling their money to super PACs that then send funds to the Illinois Republican Party and key races.
Uihlein — the owner of a shipping supply firm and major contributor to conservative causes — donated $2 million to Munger’s campaign, while Griffin, a billionaire investor, donated $3 million, according to the latest Illinois State Board of Elections reports.
Munger is facing Democratic Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza in the contested race. Prior to Sept. 30, Mendoza had raised more than $1.3 million, which already put the race on track to be one of the most expensive in the state.
Before the $5 million boost from Rauner’s billionaire friends, Munger had about $618,000 in her political fund — much of that being used for a TV ad running in the expensive Chicago media market.
Mendoza’s campaign on Friday called Griffin and Uihlein “the worst of the Bruce Rauner billionaire class.”
“Dick Uihlein shipped Illinois jobs out of state and Ken Griffin wants to sell off our public schools to the highest bidder. They are the worst of the Bruce Rauner billionaire class that already bought the governor’s seat and now they bought off Leslie Munger, ensuring voters won’t have an independent watchdog in the comptroller’s office keeping an eye on Rauner,” Mendoza campaign manager Lauren Peters said in a statement. “They must be really scared of Susana, and they should be, as she is not for sale.”
Meanwhile Munger’s camp said she appreciates the financial support.
“Comptroller Munger is working to ensure that Illinois does things differently and becomes a place that encourages employers to locate, grow and create new jobs,” Munger campaign manager Phillip Rodriguez said of her latest contributions. “She very much appreciates the support of others who share that vision.”
Munger on Sept. 23 received a $260,000 contribution from her husband, attorney John Munger. That donation lifted the cap on political contributions, all but guaranteeing just how expensive this election will wind up being.
The limits come off for all candidates in a race if any one of them, or a family member, contributes more than $250,000 to his or her own race.
Munger was appointed by Rauner after the death of Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in 2014. The victor will serve the remaining two years of Topinka’s four-year term.
The race for comptroller is now poised to become the most expensive in the state, behind the House races between Republican State Rep. Michael McAuliffe and Democrat Merry Marwig, Democratic State Rep. Dan Beiser and Republican Michael Babcock, and Democrat Latoya Greenwood versus Republican Bob Romanik.