Metro-East News

Illinois governor’s race could be most expensive in U.S. history

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Gov. Bruce Rauner AP

As candidates already have raised more than $81 million for their campaigns, the race for Illinois governor has seen enough money to exceed the average cost of a gubernatorial election, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

The amount of money could make the race the most expensive gubernatorial election in U.S. history, the political watchdog group said.

There is still 19 months until Election Day in November 2018.

The primary election is about 10 months away.

The $81 million figure includes a $50 million contribution from Gov. Bruce Rauner to his own committee, as well as last week’s $20 million contribution from Ken Griffin to the Republican governor’s campaign, according to the group, which analyzes data reported to State Board of Elections.

Any donation of at least $1,000 has to be reported immediately to the State Board of Elections. Lesser amounts can be listed in a candidate’s quarterly report.

Chicago billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker, who is running for the Democratic nomination, has reported $7.2 million in contributions so far according to the latest available figures. All of the money is from himself.

Democratic candidate Chris Kennedy has put $250,000 into his own campaign, which has reported $1.2 million in donations so far, according to the State Board of Elections.

Illinois’ most expensive gubernatorial race was in 2014, when primary and general election candidates spent nearly $112 million.

Gov. Pat Quinn spent $31 million in the election, Rauner spent about $65 million, and nearly $12 million was spent by outside groups in 2014. In 2010, about $58 million was spent on the gubernatorial election.

“Recent trends in Illinois shows that the state’s gubernatorial campaigns are becoming increasingly expensive,” the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said in a news release. “Illinois faces the possibility of having two self-funded candidates running for governor in 2018, which could result in a historically expensive race.”

In 2010, the California gubernatorial race cost about $280 million. At this point in that election cycle, only $17 million had been raised.

The 2002 New York gubernatorial race cost about $147 million.

Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race cost an estimated $115 million, the campaign reform group said.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

Money raised by 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Candidates, as of May 22.


Money raised

Bruce Rauner


J.B. Pritzker


Daniel Biss


Chris Kennedy


Ameya Pawar


Robert Daiber


Alexander Paterakis




Source: Illinois Campaign for Politcal Reform