* It’s only gonna go up from here…
Wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Rauner has set a new record for personal funding in a campaign for Illinois governor, his out-of-pocket total hitting $6 million after he put another $1 million into his bid Monday. […]
Rauner, a Winnetka businessman who is perhaps the wealthiest candidate ever to run for public office in Illinois, has now raised $14 million ahead of the March 18 primary election — far and away eclipsing the combined money-raising efforts of Republican rivals state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa.
The previous record for personal money in an Illinois governor race came in 2006, when Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz and his wife donated $5.3 million only to lose the primary election. Still, Rauner has a ways to go to top the U.S. Senate bids of Blair Hull, who spent $28.6 million of his own money to lose the 2004 Democratic primary to Barack Obama, and Peter Fitzgerald, who spent nearly $12 million from his own pocket to win in 1998.
* If he wins the primary, he’ll easily break Hull’s record. NBC 5 looks at other states…
Self-funded political campaigns have taken off in recent years, with the number of such candidates rising from 78 in 1990 to 223 in 2010 and 193 in 2012, according to an analysis by The Washington Times. The Times also found that of 1,752 self-funded candidates in federal elections since 1990, only 42 have been elected—a success rate of just 2.4 percent.
That was certainly the case for pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon, who suffered two straight defeats in her bid for a Connecticut Senate seat, despite dropping $97 million of her own money.
Jeff Greene, a Florida investor who made billions on credit default swaps, lost a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 2010 despite contributing $23 million to his own campaign.
In 2002, Texas banker Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money on his Democratic campaign for governor, while billionaire businessman Thomas Golisano spent more than $50 million from his personal fortune in New York’s gubernatorial race. Neither won.
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.