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J.B. Pritzker adds $7 million to his campaign war chest

Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker | Rezin/Sun-Times

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker — the perceived front runner in next year’s primary — has contributed another $7 million to his campaign.

The multi-million dollar contribution was reported June 5, according to a filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Pritzker also contributed $7 million in April, just days after announcing his candidacy. In total, he’s doled out $14.2 million to his campaign.

With a net worth Forbes estimates at $3.4 billion, Pritzker — like Gov. Bruce Rauner — is able to self finance his campaign. For Pritzker, that means unions and other Democratically-aligned organizations can choose to spend their money elsewhere, like in targeted legislative races.

But Pritzker will have to compete with the $70 million Rauner has on hand for his re-election campaign. Rauner in December contributed $50 million to his war chest. Hedge fund founder Ken Griffin — the richest man in Illinois — contributed $20 million to the Republican governor’s campaign fund in April, making it the largest non-candidate contribution in state history.

Citing a Sun-Times story that revealed Pritzker received a nearly $230,000 reduction in property taxes, the Rauner-led Illinois Republican Party on Thursday  responded to his contribution by calling him “just another Chicago insider who works the system to benefit himself at our expense.”

Pritzker — a billionaire venture capitalist, founder of the non-profit technology hub 1871 and an early education advocate — announced on April 6 he’s running for governor. The very early endorsement of Pritzker by the Illinois AFL-CIO earlier this week bolsters his status as a front runner — although there are other influential unions that are still mulling their endorsements. The labor group said it chose to endorse Pritzker early to try to fight off Rauner’s efforts to weaken union rights.

Pritzker’s family founded Hyatt hotels, a prime source of his wealth. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1998, coming in third place in a three-way primary won by Jan Schakowsky.

Besides Kennedy, announced candidates include Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th); state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston; Bob Daiber, a superintendent of schools in Madison County; small business owner Alex Paterakis; Chicago violence interrupter Tio Hardiman; and state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood.

Candidates must report their second major campaign reports — for contributions filed between April 1 and June 30 — by July 17.