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* Remember this story from last week?…
Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Friday accused rival J.B. Pritzker of “buying off” elected officials, including local African-American leaders as part of an “apology tour” over 2008 remarks about potential black successors to Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. […]
Kennedy’s comments came as Pritzker, a billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, has given more than $700,000 to local Democratic organizations and the campaign accounts of officials across the state, State Board of Elections records showed.
* Well, Pritzker is a piker when compared to the other side. Here’s a report today from the Illinois Review…
Quid Pro Quo? Rauner Gives $1.5M to 41 County GOP Orgs Through ILGOP
In an political strategy unprecedented in the Illinois Republican Party, thousands of dollars were transferred from the Illinois Republican Party to county organizations in the last three months leading up to the March 20th IL GOP primary.
State Board of Elections records show that 41 county GOP organizations received gifts from the IL GOP from $5000 to $25,000. Never before has the IL GOP had the resources to distribute funds in such a manner.
Where did the unprecedented party funding come from? County leaders tell Illinois Review they were asked to fill out applications, and checks were sent their ways - no requests or expectations voiced in the process.
Most of the state party’s money comes from Gov. Rauner.
* Pritzker’s money was again an issue today…
Prior to hitting the parade route along Columbus Drive, Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker defended putting another $6.3 million of his fortune into his campaign, a move he disclosed Friday night. It brought the record-setting, self-funding total of the billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune to $69.5 million.
Pritzker tried to make light of the latest cash infusion. “We simply are trying to make sure that we’re paying the bills in the campaign, and we’re very excited about the opportunity to simply get our message out,” he said.
Rival Chris Kennedy did some quick math and said the large sum “means he’s spending, I guess, $2 million a day to try to buy this election. And we have to decide whether we want to send a message from Illinois to the rest of the country, the rest of the world, that a democracy can be bought.” […]
“I was sort of confused about where the other half-million was,” Biss said. “I was hoping that J.B. would get to $70 million during the course of the campaign. It’s only, only 69.5. What a cheapskate.”
* Not sure who paid for this…
* Daily Herald…
Kennedy’s donors include real estate developers, attorneys and family members. In 2018, top contributors include former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley with $100,000, Habitat Company CEO Daniel Levin with more than $200,000, and attorney Robert Berner of Baker McKenzie with $250,000.
Biss garnered the most donations under $25 — a total of 70, according to a report for the last quarter of 2017. He also received hefty handouts from a potpourri of wealthy Democrats and attorneys.
Those include Chicago lawyers Gary Elden with $200,000 and Leonard Goodman with $150,000, California software entrepreneur Steve Silberstein with $150,000, Evanston investment banker Charles Lewis with $250,000, and Chicago philanthropist Gail Waller with $300,000.
Compared to Kennedy with more than 258 individual donations and Biss with over 245 this year, Pritzker’s financial disclosures look a little lonely — his only other benefactor is the Illinois Education Association with $14,700.
That IEA contribution were in-kinds for campaign staff.
Kennedy filed A-1’s totaling $705,861 on Wednesday and $17,000 on Thursday.
* Back to Gov. Rauner’s money…
When asked at a debate this month to name the top five donors to her attorney general campaign, Republican Erika Harold said she couldn’t identify them.
“Obviously I have received support from the party, and I am very proud to receive support of the party,” she said, adding she “couldn’t say an exact amount.”
There was one precise figure, though, that Harold offered: $305,000 she received a day earlier from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, leading the moderator to ask her whether she could be independent from the governor. […]
“The semblance of impropriety seems to be there, looking at being beholden to the governor,” said Grasso, who is self-funding his campaign.
Harold has reported raising $461K since the start of the year, which she began with $162K. Grasso has raised $366K, mostly from himself. He started the year with $25K.
* Rep. Jeanne Ives’ campaign reported two contributions this week totaling $250,000 from Vincent Kolber, who owns Residco. Kolber has contributed $660,000 to Ives’ campaign since November 15th.
* In other campaign finance news…
The controversial soda pop tax that was repealed last year by the Cook County Board amid a public backlash has spawned two fierce Democratic primary election contests fueled by $1.8 million in campaign cash.
Union-backed challengers Brandon Johnson and Bridget Degnen are taking on tax-opposing Commissioners Richard Boykin and John Fritchey, contending layoffs triggered by the pop tax repeal have diminished vital county services. Both cite finding new ways to raise more government revenue as priorities. […]
Campaign contributions to all four candidates this election cycle come to nearly $1.4 million, even though it’s not unheard of to win a County Board seat for $100,000 or less. And political action committees have poured another $442,000 in independent expenditures into the race. Most of the money comes from public employee unions that opposed the repeal of the pop tax and business interests that successfully fought to eliminate it.
* And the Trib gets around to covering House Republican Leader Jim Durkin’s primary…
At a recent fundraising event in southwest suburban Homer Glen, Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin acknowledged that leading the minority party in a chamber controlled by Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan wasn’t easy.
“I like to think my job is threefold,” said Durkin, a 20-year veteran lawmaker from Western Springs. “I’ve got to work on policy. I’ve got to raise money. But I’m also an unlicensed psychiatrist at times in Springfield.”
Psychiatry isn’t necessary to diagnose an Illinois Republican Party facing deep ideological divides, however. In some respects, the GOP split mirrors the one on the Democratic side — insurgents from a far wing of the party pushing against the establishment.
Tuesday’s election already was unusual, as a sitting governor faces a potentially difficult primary challenge. But rarer still is the year when a longtime legislative leader also faces a well-moneyed challenge in his home district.
So far, Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC has disclosed $1,229,373.72 in independent expenditures against Durkin and for his opponent Mickey Straub. The Illinois Network of Charter Schools’ PAC has disclosed spending about $46K against Straub since March 5th.