Chris Kennedy reports $1M in donations, topping gov race rivals

SHARE Chris Kennedy reports $1M in donations, topping gov race rivals

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy speaks to reporters last month. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Democrat Chris Kennedy announced Thursday that he has raised more than $1 million in contributions to his gubernatorial campaign from 3,000 individual donors.

“Thousands of Illinois families have contributed to this effort because they know fixing our state’s challenges will take more than a big wallet,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Illinois has never been in worse shape than it is under Governor Rauner. We need a fundamental change in state government.”

Earlier this week, Kennedy attended a fundraiser in New York City hosted by his sister Kerry Kennedy, which was expected to reap $250,000 for his campaign. Kennedy has contributed $250,100 to his campaign, which erased the limits on amounts all candidates can accept. The money he contributed to his campaign is included in the $1 million in contributions he’s reporting, according to his campaign.

Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, announced his candidacy in early February via a video sent to supporters.

Kennedy’s campaign has been focused on attacking Rauner, a Republican who is locked in a historic budget battle with the Illinois General Assembly. Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, have butted heads since Rauner’s election — with the two at odds over many of the governor’s preferred reforms.

Kennedy, who formerly managed the Merchandise Mart, is now involved in the massive Wolf Point real estate development in River North.

Kennedy’s report on his fundraising comes two days after two other Democratic candidates provided information on 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.”

State Sen. Daniel Biss, who announced his candidacy less than two weeks 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.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker formally announced his run on Thursday. He formed an exploratory committee last month and has been hiring 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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