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Rauner's latest $1 million sets gubernatorial race record

SPRINGFIELD — Private equity investor Bruce Rauner moved into political rare air Monday with his latest $1 million cash drop into his political fund, setting a record for personal funders in an Illinois gubernatorial race.

In putting that seven-figure sum into his campaign fund Monday, Rauner eclipsed the old, self-funding governor’s race record of $5.2 million set by Republican Ron Gidwitz during his failed 2006 bid.

The $1 million contribution Rauner disclosed in a new campaign filing Monday now puts the total amount of his personal fortune invested in his gubernatorial ambitions at $6.05 million.

That total represents only a paltry amount of Rauner’s personal fortune. Last November, he disclosed having $53.4 million in net income during the 2012 tax year.

Rauner has been engaged in a non-stop television ad campaign and been the subject of a series of blistering union-sponsored ads attacking him for operating nursing homes in which three elderly Florida women died.

Their estates were awarded $1.4 billion in judgments, though none of those awards have been collected from the now-bankrupt subsidiary of GTCR, the Chicago investment company Rauner operated until 2012.

In two of the cases, the women died after Rauner’s campaign says his company’s subsidiary, Trans Healthcare, relinquished control of the nursing homes in which they lived.

A Rauner campaign aide said the massive infusion of new money is designed to counter the push by unions and other Democratic interests to knock him out of the primary.“Liberal special interest groups and government union bosses have spent $4 million attempting to hijack the Republican primary and are trying to stop Bruce from spreading his plan to pass term limits, cut spending, and reverse the Quinn 67 percent tax hike,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said.

Rauner faces state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford in the GOP gubernatorial primary.