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Governor’s race fundraising tops $100 million

Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

* Sun-Times

More than $102 million and counting.

That’s the amount of money raised over the past year by the three richest candidates vying to be governor of Illinois.

The lion’s share of that – 69 percent – was raised by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, with $50 million of the $70.9 million he raised coming from his own pockets.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker raised $28.2 million, every penny from his own personal fortune.

And businessman Chris Kennedy raised $3.4 million, bringing the combined contributions the three candidates raised over the last 12 months — from themselves and others — to a whopping $102,605,158.39

Biss has so far raised $120,700 from his immediate family, including $30K from his mother this past quarter. Amazingly enough, that’s more family money that Chris Kennedy has raised. Never would’ve guessed that.

* ICPR notes that third quarter spending topped $15 million

Ad buys remained the single largest expenditure area for the field of gubernatorial candidates, although total spending in the area declined since last quarter. The majority of JB Pritzker’s expenditures, $5.9 million, went to producing and airing ads across Illinois. Bruce Rauner and Daniel Biss also spent approximately $229,000 and $69,000 on ads, respectively. Rauner also spent $164,000 on mailers. All told, $6.2 million was spent in advertising in the third quarter, a 17% decrease from the $7.5 million reportedly spent on ads last quarter.

Research and consulting services represented the next largest spending areas for the candidates at $2.94 million. Pritzker and Rauner devoted the most resources to various media and political consulting firms, with Kennedy and Biss trailing significantly. Pritzker spent $1.66 million on consulting, Rauner spent $1.61 million, and Kennedy and Biss spent around $87,000 each.

While Pritzker and Rauner, the two self-funders with deep pockets, focused their spending on expensive areas like ads and consulting, Biss and Kennedy mainly used the funds they raised on hiring staff. Kennedy spent over half of his total expenditures on salaries, and related expenses like payroll taxes and health insurance, dishing out $395,300 for his staffers.

Biss only spent $205,200 on paying staff, while Governor Rauner, with a communications staff in his office and no primary opponent, spent the least, only devoting $162,600 to payroll and related expenses. Pritzker outspent Rauner, Biss, and Kennedy combined, paying $1.58 million on personnel for his campaign. All told, payroll costs totaled $2.35 million, more than doubling since last quarter.

So, Pritzker spent several hundred thousand dollars more on payroll during the quarter than any of his Democratic rivals raised.

* Chart

Kennedy did not report any expenditures to his fundraising consultant. I don’t know whether this is related or not, but the campaign told the Tribune earlier this month that he would end the quarter with $1.2 million and wound up reporting $1.3 million cash on hand. The campaign also didn’t report any expenditures to Revolution Messaging, a firm that previously worked with the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and which received $90,305 from Kennedy in the seond quarter.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    That’s quite a staggering gap in CoH. Pritzker obviously could make that up. The others, though?


  2. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Of course it’s related, Rich.

    Desperate campaigns delay paying big bills to inflate their cash on hand.

    Seems like exactly the kind of bookkeeping ploy that state government has been criticized for.

    Maybe Some reporter will call the Kennedy campaign to find out wassup with their bookkeeping.


  3. - The Muse - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Kennedy is reporting $1.3 million on hand when we know he likely spent at least $100k on media and probably more than that on consultants… What’s the likelihood Kennedy has less than $1 million on hand once again? Is it possible he’s just sitting on a bunch of promised money that will come down the pipeline come January??? He can’t be this bad at fundraising…… Or can he?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    Wonder why someone would want to try to comment as me?

    That’s pretty pathetic.


  5. - LXB - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    Pritzker has raised zero dollars outside of his own money?


  6. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    “Pritzker has raised zero dollars outside of his own money?”

    The campaign prefers to think of it as J.B. never being turned down by a donor.

    – MrJM


  7. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    I get the $100M hook for the Sun-Times story, but it’s beyond silly to lump Kennedy in with Rauner and JB to make it happen.

    Kennedy is not and obviously will not be in the same ballpark with those guys when it comes to money.

    It’s like saying Hank and Tommie Aaron hit a combined 768 taters. True, but wildly misleading.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    It should be noted that it was Chris Kennedy that broke the seal on limits.

    How’s that worked out?


  9. - QCLib - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    If donors don’t believe in JB’s message, I’ll bet voters won’t either.

    Kennedy might look like a mouse among the lions, but at least he’s taking his message to the people.


  10. - Chris P. Bacon - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    That’s a lot of cabbage. But the amount needed when you’re even willing to lie to a Catholic Cardinal is infinite.


  11. - The Muse - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    “If donors don’t believe in JB’s message, I’ll bet voters won’t either.”

    He made a pledge to not except any outside money whatsoever - from private donors or interest groups. He’s been telling Democratic Township chairs that he wants people donating to their local Democratic party organizations to help down ticket candidates.


  12. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    **If donors don’t believe in JB’s message, I’ll bet voters won’t either.**

    He explicitly isn’t raising money from donors. It’s a decision that the campaign has made to be 100% self funded, for better and/or worse.

    **Kennedy might look like a mouse among the lions, but at least he’s taking his message to the people.**

    I have no idea what this means…


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    The keys in this fundraising, now, is two-fold…

    Be able to get your own message out and clarify your messaging when attacks arise.

    Frame yourself counter to Bruce Rauner, showing contrast to yourself and the governor.

    If you can do that with $5 million, $10 million, $50 million, then that’s the freight.

    The asks don’t change.


  14. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    You really think JB couldn’t raise a ton of money from the business community? Umm, ok.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    ===You really think JB couldn’t raise a ton of money from the business community?===

    Pritzker hasn’t yet.

    It’s just talk until it’s done.


  16. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Not even 2018 yet


  17. - ILDemVoter - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Everything about this article is whats wrong with the campaign system and why we need campaign finance reform now. There is so so much money being injected into campaign while the State of Illinois fails at so many other areas. At the end of the day, the most qualified person should win, not the person who spends/raises the most money.


  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===why we need campaign finance reform now===

    By doing what? SCOTUS has ruled that you can’t stop rich people from spending their own money on their own campaigns. So, do you force caps on everyone else? Ridic.

    I don’t like it either, but new laws won’t stop this.


  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    ===Pritzker hasn’t yet===

    And he won’t. He’s entirely self funding.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===And he won’t. He’s entirely self funding.===

    Yep. So speculating if he’d do great, not so great, he’s decided he’s not, so we won’t know.


  21. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Pritzker could headline fundraiser for Democrats, e.g. New Trier Township Democrats though.

    That would get interesting.


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