The race for Illinois governor cost more than $28 million just in the last three months of 2017 for the Nov. 2018 election.
Campaign finance disclosures filed this week show $9 of every $10 was spent by just two candidates — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the leading Democratic challenger, Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker.
That’s nearly as much as the $30 million spent in the first nine months of 2017 in a race that could easily surpass the $112 million spent in the Prairie State four years ago and could approach the national record.
Rauner, whose first term has been marked by a record-long budget stalemate with the Democratic-controlled Legislature that ended last summer, drew right-wing ire last fall when he signed a law providing state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.
Rauner reported raising $2.9 million in the last quarter of 2017. His campaign spent $12.8 million and had a whopping $55.6 million in the bank.
Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt hotel franchise and among the world’s wealthiest people, reported raising $21 million and spending $13.3 million, with nearly $8 million on hand.
The 2014 race in which Rauner beat incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn cost $112 million. The national record was set in the 2010 California contest, in which the price tag for ex-Gov. Jerry Brown to reclaim the post over businesswoman Meg Whitman was $280 million.
Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican who didn’t join the gubernatorial race until Nov. 15, reported raising $434,000, spending $39,000 and with cash to start, had $662,000 in the bank.
Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat whose campaign has decried big-money self-funders such as Pritzker, raised $1.1 million and ended 2017 with $3.1 million. Another wealthy businessman, Chris Kennedy, raised $1 million and had $737,000 on hand.
Educator Bob Daiber of Marine, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman of Calumet City, and physician Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge are also seeking the Democratic nomination.
On a smaller scale, the race for attorney general to fill the seat being vacated by Democrat Lisa Madigan is heating up.
Eight candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, including former Gov. Quinn, and they’re putting up money to get it. Each of the Democrats, individually, has more on hand than the combined total for the GOP candidates, Erika Harold and Gary Grasso.
Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago leads the pack, raising $782,000, spending $109,000 and finishing the quarter with just under $1.1 million. Highwood Democratic Rep. Scott Drury collected $506,000 and finished with $732,000.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering drew $631,000 and had $574,000 on hand; assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Fairley took in $495,000 and had $388,000 in the bank, and lawyer and educational administrator Jesse Ruiz raised $549,000 and closed the period with $355,000.
Quinn started the period with $232,000, but raised only $79,000 in the last three months, leaving $279,000 on hand. Lawyers Aaron Goldstein and Renato Mariotti are also running.
On the GOP side, Harold, a lawyer and former Miss America, had $162,000 on hand after raising $135,000. Grasso, a DuPage County Board member, filed disclosure papers for attorney general last week.
Editor’s note: Chicago Public Media receives philanthropic support from The Pritzker Foundation. J.B. Pritzker, who is campaigning for governor in the Democratic Primary, is not involved with the foundation and does not contribute to it