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Billionaire Gov. Pritzker throws $90M into his re-election bid, with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin poised to join GOP primary

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin is expected to jump into the Republican primary contest on Monday, and may get the backing of billionaire Ken Griffin.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a 6-year construction timeline to improve I-80, made possible by the Rebuild Illinois capital program, during a news conference at IDOT New Lenox, Monday morning, Oct. 18, 2021.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, shown at an October news conference, sent $90 million to his campaign fund on Friday.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker threw $90 million into his campaign account on Friday, stockpiling his war chest days before a candidate who may get the backing of billionaire Ken Griffin jumps into the GOP primary.

Here is the latest:

  • Pritzker contributed $90 million to his campaign fund, according to a Illinois State Board of Election Friday night report of the donation. Pritzker campaign spokesman Natalie Edelstein said some of that money will support Democratic candidates and causes.
  • Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, that city’s first Black mayor, is expected to jump into the Republican primary contest on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, various sources said. Irvin’s political viability as he launches a statewide bid is dependent on the perception that his campaign will get a financial boost from Griffin, one of the richest men in the nation. Griffin has vowed to spend millions to defeat Pritzker.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin pictured at a 2019 news conference.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin pictured at a 2019 news conference.
Daily Herald photo

Irvin is part of a GOP slate for statewide offices recruited and groomed by a network of Republican operatives with ties to ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner and to the successful campaign, fueled by Griffin cash, to defeat Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal.

That slate so far: former Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John Milhiser for secretary of state; state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, for state treasurer; Deerfield attorney Steve Kim for attorney general; and McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi for comptroller.

Four Republicans are already in the GOP primary.

They are: state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo; and business executives Gary Rabine of Bull Valley and Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg.