The Republican governor hopefuls are criticizing each other over how their campaigns are being paid for.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) is being supported by two teachers’ unions, retired teachers, and the state employees’ union AFSCME, leading Bruce Rauner to suggest Dillard is acting like a Democrat.
“I’m the only person in this race who has never taken a political campaign contribution from a government union boss. I think that’s a conflict of interest for the taxpayers,” he said.
Rauner has committed $6 million of his own money, a record for a governor’s race in Illinois, and Dillard notes Rauner also has raised money from some of the rich folks who supported him in the past.
“Those were somewhat sometimes my contributors, certainly not in the lump sums that Mr. Rauner is getting it,” Dillard said. Dillard says it’s a concerted strategy by Rauner to keep that money away from other candidates.
The contributions that Rauner has made to his own campaign eclipse the previous record of $5.3 million contributed by Ron Gidwitz in 2006.
“The real question here is why should the voters of Illinois trust their vote with Bruce Rauner, someone that they didn’t even know four months ago, just because he spent $6 million to $8 million of his own wealth promoting his campaign?” said State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), one of the Republican candidates.
There has been greater personal wealth spent in U.S. Senate races: Peter Fitzgerald spent $12 million of his own money to win a Senate seat in 1998; Blair Hull spent $28.6 million but lost the Democratic primary in 2004.
Meanwhile, Dillard continues to get support from unions and union-backed groups.
Steve Shearer, a former chief of staff to Congressman Aaron Schock, founded the group known as the Republican Fund for Progress and Jobs — which has launched pro-Dillard TV ads. It’s spending $700,000 on this campaign, the group has received most of its money from unions.
Dillard, Brady and Rutherford have been trying to gain ground on Rauner, who’s led in polls and fundraising. Dillard recently launched his own TV ads, with financial help from unions.