clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pritzker drops nearly $7 million on campaign advertising — more than four times total spending of his four GOP rivals

The Democratic governor, who is self-funding his campaign, ended the fundraising quarter with nearly $25 million in the bank. Republican Jesse Sullivan came the closest, with $10,035,739.68 on hand at the end of September.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker greets supporters before a news conference in New Lenox on Monday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker greets supporters before a news conference in New Lenox on Monday.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In the first two and half months after he announced he would seek a second term, Gov. J.B. Pritzker dropped nearly $7 million on television commercials and other media ads.

That’s more than four times the $1,592,742.70 in combined spending of all four of his Republican challengers — only one of whom has aired any campaign commercials.

Downstate venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, who entered the race in early September, spent $239,764 on TV airtime and production in roughly the first three weeks of his campaign.

Those are some of the highlights of the latest campaign finance filings, which detail the money raised and spent for the three-month period that started July 1 and ended Sept. 30.

During that time, the billionaire governor dished out $2.3 million on digital ad buys from Gambit Strategies, another $4.6 on a separate television media buy from Grassroots Media LLC, as well as $7,625 on a media buy from OUTFRONT Media for digital billboards, according to campaign filings and a spokeswoman for Pritzker’s campaign.

In the three weeks of his campaign covered by the reports, Sullivan, a Petersburg native, spent $172,344 on media advertisements from FlexPoint Media and $67,420 on media production and design services from Poolhouse, whose website bills the firm as an ad agency that creates “bold campaigns that win elections, empower brands, and move people to action.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan speaks to a supporter outside the Cook County Criminal Court building last month.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan speaks to a supporter after a news conference outside the Cook County Criminal Court building earlier this month.
Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times file

Entering the race on Sept. 9, Sullivan reported having $10,035,739.68 on hand at the end of September. The political newcomer reported receiving over $10.8 million in contributions during the quarter. His total expenditures from the time he announced until Sept. 30 were $791,088.43.

The Democratic governor, who is self-funding his campaign, ended the fundraising quarter with nearly $25 million in the bank. In March, he seeded his campaign with $35 million from his personal fortune.

Pritzker officially kicked off his reelection bid on July 19, and rolled out his television commercials a few days later. They spotlighted everyday Illinoisans and their contributions to helping the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other expenditures for the governor during the period include $15,000 for media monitoring services from IQ Media Group and $162,404.78 on media production from Magnus Pearson Media.

The remaining three Republican competitors reported more modest campaign contributions and spending.

State Sen. Darren Bailey of downstate Xenia reported taking in $894,244.10 for the quarter. He spent $382,504.56 during the period and had a little over $1 million left at the close of reporting.

Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, left, in March; State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, center; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, right.
Suburban businessman Gary Rabine, left, in March; State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, center; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, right.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file; Facebook

The downstate senator was followed by Gary Rabine, who raised $445,103.14 during the quarter and had $416,044.61 left at its close. The Bull Valley businessman spent $316,383.82 during the period.

Rounding out the GOP field, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf received $60,138 in contributions during the third quarter and ended September with $73,652.58. He spent $102,765.89 during the period.

In other hotly contested races, former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias led the pack of candidates seeking to succeed outgoing Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Giannoulias reported raising $610,030.79, and had $3,449,940.19 left at the end of the quarter.

Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias speaks to striking Cook County workers in June.
Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias speaks to striking Cook County workers in June.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia reported receiving $202,668.50 in contributions over the course of the quarter and had $707,211.94 left on Sept. 30.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) reported receiving $151,974 and ended the quarter with $460,436.06.

Ald. David Moore (17th) reported raising only $13,100, and had it all in the bank at the close of the quarter.

Ald. David Moore (17th), left, in June of 2020; Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), center, in 2019; City Clerk Anna M. Valencia, right, in 2018. 
Ald. David Moore (17th), left, in June of 2020; Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), center, in 2019; City Clerk Anna M. Valencia, right, in 2018.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia; Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

In what could be a spirited local race, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart reported raising $42,386, giving him $590,927.55 as he prepares for a June 2022 primary battle.

Dart currently faces Carmen Navarro Gercone and LaTonya Ruffin, who’ve both worked at the sheriff’s office. Ruffin reported receiving $64,242.70 from July to the end of September, an amount that includes $58,000 in loans to herself and through an LLC that shares her home address.

On Friday, Ruffin told members of the Cook County Democratic Party her experience as deputy sheriff with assignments at the jail and in courtrooms would allow her to bring “transparency and accountability to the sheriff’s office.”

Navarro Gercone did not have a quarterly campaign filing on record with the state as of Monday afternoon.