Crusader Staff Report
Billionaire JB Pritzker donated an additional $25 million of his own money to his campaign for governor, raising the stakes in the most expensive gubernatorial race in Illinois history.
The political race between Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will be decided in November, but for now Pritzker is using old money to build a sizable lead in donations over his rival. His latest donation puts his campaign at $107 million. Pritzker donated more than $100 million of his company with his money. Rauner has over $76,000,000.
The donation gap between the two was less than a million for some time, but with just over six months left for the general election, Pritzker is stepping up his efforts to win it all. In addition to beefing up his war chest, Pritzker has donated a million dollars to the Democratic Majority Group, a powerful political machine controlled by Speaker Mike Madigan.
Pritzker is worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes. Reports say that Rauner is a multimillionaire with assets close to $1 billion. According to tax returns he released, Rauner’s adjusted gross income was $187.6 million in 2015, most of that from investments.
Pritzker, along with running mate Julianna Stratton easily crushed his opponents in the primary to win the Democratic nomination while Rauner posted a narrow victory for the Republican nomination, but that narrow win also served as a warning for the incumbent governor, who has drawn heavy criticism and voter anger while in office.
Rauner on Tuesday aired on a new ad in downstate Illinois. The new ad is a wiretapped recording between Pritzker and former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The half minute ad is a portion of a November 14, 2008 recording in which Blagojevich jokes about appointing Reverend Jeremiah Wright to the U.S. Senate seat of then-President-elect Barack Obama. Wright was Obama’s controversial pastor whose fiery sermon led the future president to disassociate from him to win the mainstream vote.
With the Black vote, Pritzker is confident as the race moves closer to the general election, but Rauner is not giving up the fight. Rauner and state lawmakers this week approved his first state budget under his leadership. Rauner on Monday, June 4, signed legislation for the $38.5 budget, unlike the previous contentious budget stalemate that left Illinois without a state budget from 2015 to 2017.
With limited state funds, Chicago State University was forced to lay off a chunk of its staff and shorten its school schedule.
Rauner continues to maintain his profile in the Black community. Two weeks ago, he attended a press conference in Englewood where mayoral candidate Willie Wilson announced a new initiative to help small Black businesses.
Rauner said he will continue advocating for a tax-hike rollback but Pritzker said the state will need more money, tax money, to balance the budget in the future.