(Left to right) Democrats Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker, candidates for the 2018 Illinois gubernatorial election. | Sun-Times file photos

Gov race funds top $100 million — due to Rauner, Pritzker deep pockets

SHARE Gov race funds top $100 million — due to Rauner, Pritzker deep pockets
SHARE Gov race funds top $100 million — due to Rauner, Pritzker deep pockets

More than $102 million and counting.

That’s the amount of money raised over the past year by the three richest candidates vying to be governor of Illinois.

The lion’s share of that – 69 percent – was raised by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, with $50 million of the $70.9 million he raised coming from his own pockets.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker raised $28.2 million, every penny from his own personal fortune.

And businessman Chris Kennedy raised $3.4 million, bringing the combined contributions the three candidates raised over the last 12 months — from themselves and others — to a whopping$102,605,158.39

The unprecedented nature of the race, and level of self-funding is inching it closer to becoming one of the most expensive gubernatorial races in U.S. history.

Candidates were required to file their third quarterly campaign reports by Monday for contributions made between July 1 and Sept. 30. Rauner’s campaign had a hefty $65,568,284.23 cash on hand on Oct. 1. That’s nearly 25 times as much as State Sen. Daniel Biss’s $2,668,521.64 and nearly 50 times Kennedy’s $1,315,606.71.

Pritzker reported $174,002 cash on hand on Oct. 1, the last day of the reporting period after having spent a whopping $11.7 million. But the billionaire entrepreneur and investor kicked in an additional $7 million from his own deep pocketstwo days later. Pritzker has contributed $7 million to his campaign every two months since he officially entered the race in April. And he’s vowed to keep contributing as needed.

The most expensive gubernatorial race in U.S. history was California’s in 2010, when Democrat Jerry Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman. In all, candidates raised and spent about $280 million during the primary and general election.

Rauner, who faces no major opponent thus far in the Republican primary just five months away, reported $406,630 in contributions and $438.35 in-kind in his latest filing. His campaign spent more than $2.47 million, with more than $466,000 going to Target Enterprises, a California-based “strategic media placement company,” which offers research, planning and advertising placement. That was for ads in support of his amendatory veto of the school funding measure, which blamed Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan for a Chicago bailout. He also transferred $500,000 on Aug. 23 to the Illinois Republican Party to help bolster legislative races. Rauner’s campaign last week also transferred $4.45 million to the party to “targetmembers of the Illinois House and Senate who empower their political boss, Mike Madigan,” according to the state GOP party.

Kennedy reported $1,021,799 in contributions, and $45,146 in-kind. Kennedy contributed $250,000 to his campaign, which spent $664,863 during the third quarter. He had more than $1.31 million on hand at the end of the reporting period. Kennedy’s campaign last week noted contributions to the campaign have come from donors in 90 of the state’s 102 counties, with about 8,000 contributions coming from about 5,300 individual contributors. They called that “a groundswell of support.”

Biss, a state senator from Evanston, reported $837,754 in contributions, with $2,053 in -kind. He recorded about $509,000 in expenditures, with the largest expenditure at $62,000 for consulting fees for LBH Chicago, a boutique fundraising and public relations consulting firm. Biss had more than $2.6 million on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Madison County schools Supt. Bob Daiber reported $16,199 in contributions, including a $10,000 loan from himself, plus $4,332.66 in-kind. The Downstate administrator reported $14.141.04 in expenditures and $40,000 in other obligations, leaving $12,021.91 on hand.

Anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman reported $5,445 in contributions, with $1,868.87 in expenditures. He had $3,576.13 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Both state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar have dropped out of the race with Drury joining the list of those vying for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s spot. Pawar last week said he dropped out because he didn’t have the money needed to “meaningfully scale” his campaign statewide.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel raised $393,750 in the third quarter, with $172,039 in expenditures, according to the latest report. He has nearly $1.8 million on hand for his re-election bid.

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