It’s The Battle of the Billionaires as Rauner Faces Pritzker for Governor

Primary Election 2018: In November’s race for Governor, Bruce Rauner will face JB Pritzker, as was widely anticipated over the last year.  This looks to become the most expensive gubernatorial race in the history of the nation.  Pritzker won the nomination with just over 45% of the vote, to Sen Dan Biss’ second place finish with 26-percent and Chris Kennedy’s 24-percent.

J.B. Pritzker

Pritzker’s already put $63 million of his funds into his campaign treasury, and Rauner’s put $50 million into his.  But this looks to be a far easier path to victory for JB Pritzker, given the vote totals on Primary Night.  Rauner and Ives – in a spirited competition — will have had about 660,000 votes between them.  Whereas the Democratic candidates for Governor, combined for nearly twice as much — around 1.2 million.

So unless JB Pritzker stumbles badly, or Gov Rauner has some very big scandal to unleash on Pritzker at the last moment — it’s hard to see where Rauner can come up with the votes needed to win re-election.

Many in the Ives camp  – the conservative Republican base — say they will never vote again for Bruce Rauner, who they feel betrayed them, and then disrespected his base by blatantly lying about Rep Ives being in cahoots with Speaker Madigan.

Rep Ives tapped into that sense of frustration with a lack of accomplishments by Gov Rauner and the anger of the Republican base of the governor’s signing the abortion funding bill and a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Now the Governor and Mr Prizker will each have to spend millions more to battle a fellow billionaire, to see which can get the upper hand in the race to November.

So the real winners are going to be the television and radio stations across Illinois, who are about to ring the cash register big time, as the state undergoes carpet bombing of political ads between now and November.

Pritzker’s win was easier than what some felt was going to be the case,  with Pritzker taking about 45.5% of the votes for governor in the Democratic race.  Rauner by contrast — while holding a lead over Ives all evening, never had a comfortable margin of victory until the vote just drew near to the end.  Throughout the night, Ives held close to the governor with the race remaining split at 52% to 48%, even as the vote count neared the end.

Rep Jeanne Ives

IT looks like the governor will win by a margin of approximately 21,000 votes or so.  But for Rep Ives, who started this race last fall when she had NO money, and little name recognition outside her legislative district around Wheaton, this was an incredible performance.  It also underscores the depth of disgust many Republican voters feel for the governor they elected four years ago, who ran on a 44 point plan to turn the state around.  But in four years, he didn’t pass any of those reforms and said at one point, “I am not in charge.”

On Tuesday night, as Gov Rauner took the stage to address the crowd at his victory party he said, “To those of you who wanted to send me a message, let me assure you… I have heard you.”  Rauner congratulated Rep Ives for a hard-fought campaign and called for uniting to win in November.

But after the campaign waged by the Governor, in which he lied about Rep Ives being a tool of Speaker Madigan, and the his signing of two bills last summer  — one to provide for taxpayer funding of abortions and another his critics say made Illinois into a “sanctuary state” the path to Republican Party unity will be nearly impossible to find.

State Sen Kwame Raoul, who first became known when he joined the legislature as “the man who replaced Barack Obama” will be the Democratic nominee for Attorney General.  He defeated former Governor Pat Quinn, who came in second.

Sen Raoul has served in the Ilinois Senate since November 2004.  In his career he back many major pieces of legislation, including the effort to get rid of the death penalty.  He’s also worked with the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice Reform, which looks to reduce the prison population by 25-percent over 10 years.

Erika Harold

Sen Raoul will face Erika Harold, a graduate of Harvard Law, who lives in the Urbana area.  She is a former Miss America who entered the competition on the chance she would win, so she could get the money needed to attend law school.

Among those losing their seats on Tuesday, were Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, and Senator Ira Silverstein, who had been accused by a lobbyist of sexual harassment, and lost his race to be renominated.