Dems Biss, Pawar see six-figure contributions in governor’s race

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State Sen. Daniel Biss (left) and Ald. Ameya Pawar used the strongest language Thursday in attacking Gov. Bruce Rauner’s strategy of pitting Chicago against the rest of the state. | File photos

As Democrats amp up their resources to try to unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner, two candidates without access to personal fortunes are reporting six-figure contributions.

Ald. Ameya Pawar’s campaign for governor on Tuesday reported that more than 1,200 people from across the state donated more than $325,000 since Pawar announced his run in January.

Pawar said the numbers show “the power of everyday people rising up to demand accountability from our government.”

“I’m not a billionaire, and I didn’t start with a million dollar war chest. I don’t have the benefit of having led SuperPACs while entrenched in Springfield politics,” Pawar said. “But the groundswell of support as we visit people across the state has made it clear that Illinois families are hungry to put a progressive fighter in the governor’s office.”

State Sen. Daniel Biss, who announced his candidacy 11 days ago, on Tuesday reported $313,861 in contributions to the Biss for Illinois campaign in the first quarter. Biss says he has $1.5 million cash on hand.

Biss says nearly 90 percent of his donations were for less than $150, and they came from over 1,000 contributors from 116 cities and towns across Illinois.

Unlike some of the other candidates in the race — Democratic and Republican — Biss and Pawar lack the personal wealth that would allow them to self-finance their campaigns.

Businessman Chris Kennedy hasn’t released his full contributions for the first quarter, but according to records with the state Board of Elections, he has received at least $145,700. He also has contributed $250,100 to his campaign, which broke the caps.

Kennedy’s campaign on Tuesday said he is attending a fundraiser in New York, hosted by his sister, which is expected to reap $250,000 for his campaign.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker has not yet announced his run, but is expected to join the race within weeks. He formed an exploratory committee last month and is bulking up his campaign staff.

Madison County schools superintendent Bob Daiber has confirmed his bid for governor as well, and Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summer also is mulling a run.

Meanwhile, Rauner in December donated $50 million to his campaign. According to the latest figures, he has about $50.8 million on hand for his campaign.

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