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Watch now: Pritzker leads money race over GOP opponents

Watch now: Pritzker leads money race over GOP opponents

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker is launching the first TV ads of the 2022 race for governor with three spots looking at Illinoisans’ response to the pandemic.

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has two valuable advantages over his Republican opponents in the early stages of the 2022 Illinois governor's race: money and time. 

The former should come as no surprise. Pritzker is a billionaire who dropped nearly $172 million of his own money into his campaign to defeat former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018. And he made a $35 million down payment on his re-election campaign in March. 

And Pritzker is wasting no time to get his message out, spending nearly $7 million on media buys between July 1 and September 30, according to quarterly campaign finance reports. 


Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers a speech at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in August. 

Pritzker officially announced his bid for a second term on July 23. A video released that day appeared to foreshadow a campaign theme of “strong leadership in tough times,” alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Advertising has taken up the vast majority of the $8.2 million Pritzker's campaign has spent in the previous three months. Pritzker has about $24.6 million cash on hand. 

Without a competitive primary to worry about, this early spending allows Pritzker to define himself to voters and shape what issues will define the race. 

According to campaign finance reports, the four declared Republican candidates for governor are not in the same ballpark as Pritzker. 

Jesse Sullivan, a venture capitalist from Petersburg who announced his candidacy in late August, raised $10.8 million last quarter. Of that, $9 million came from just two wealthy out-of-state donors.

Sullivan spent $791,088 last quarter and has about $10 million on hand. 

Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, the conservative firebrand who rose to prominence challenging Pritzker's COVID-19 emergency orders and mask mandates, raised $894,244 last quarter and spent $382,504. He has about $1 million in the bank. 

Businessman Gary Rabine took in $445,103 and spent $316,383. He has $416,044 cash on hand. Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, raised just $60,138 last quarter while spending $102,765. He has $73,652 on hand. 

Of course, it is still early. The primary election is not until next June. 

There are several Republicans who could still jump into the race, namely Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville; Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon; former state Sen. Kirk Dillard; and state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington. 

Kinzinger and, to a lesser extent, Davis are proven fundraisers at the congressional level, sitting on $3.35 million and $1.05 million, respectively. Federal dollars cannot be transferred into a state account, however.

Dillard could attract dollars from the Chicago business community. 

And perhaps the major unknown in GOP politics is the extent that billionaire Ken Griffin will be involved in this year's governor's race. 

Griffin, the state's wealthiest man, donated extensively to the campaign that defeated Pritzker's graduated income tax amendment at the ballot box in 2020. He also helped defeat Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride's retention. 

But for now, Pritzker largely has the airwaves to himself. 

Giannoulias holds money lead in Secretary of State's race

Former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias maintains his significant fundraising advantage in the Democratic primary race to succeed Secretary of State Jesse White, raising $610,030 last quarter, more than his three Democratic primary opponents combined. He has $3.45 million cash on hand.

Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia raised $202,668 and has $707,919 on hand. Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell reported $151,974 and has $460,436 overall. Chicago Ald. David Moore has raised just $13,100. 

Thus far, no Republicans have entered the race, but state Reps. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, and Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, have expressed interest. 

Legislative Democratic leaders outraise Republicans

Political committees controlled by Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Chris Welch, D-Hillside, significantly outraised those of their Republican counterparts. 

Harmon reported raising about $1 million for his personal account and has just under $7 million cash on hand. ISDF, the Senate Democrats' fundraising arm, raised $825,059 and has $1.28 million cash on hand. 

Welch raised about $1.9 million last quarter and has about $3.1 million in his personal account. Democrats for the Illinois House, the caucus' fundraising arm, raised $875,607 and has more than $2 million on hand. 

Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, raised $591,847 and has just over $1 million on hand in his personal account. The Republican State Senate Campaign Committee raised just $668 and has $44,090 on hand. 


House Minority Leader Jim Durkin speaks at Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 20 in Springfield.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, reported raising $486,905 last quarter and has $601,144 on hand in his personal account. The House Republican Organization raised $70,912 last quarter and has $182,657 on hand. 

The Democratic Party of Illinois raised just under $65,000 last quarter, but has $2.43 million in the bank. The Illinois Republican Party raised just over $75,000 and has $238,899 on hand. 


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