State Senator from Evanston competing financially in governor’s race

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Illinois’ governor’s race looks a bit different than it did a few weeks ago. One Republican joined the race. Two Democrats quit.

And we’re still four months away from the primary.

It’s easy to sort out the Republicans.

Incumbent Bruce Rauner has his huge campaign warchest to try to hold off the challenge from state representative Jeanne Ives.

A primary win by Ives would be a huge upset.

Democrats are really separated into the haves and have nots.

Small business owner Alex Paterakis, community organizer Tio Hardiman and regional schools superintendent Bob Daiber lack in name recognition and in fundraising. Their combined campaign accounts had a little more than $20,000 on hand at the end of September.

Then there are the three players with money.

Billionaire venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker spent almost $12 million in the third quarter. He finished the quarter with $175,000 in his account. Then added another $7 million in October.

Investment manager Chris Kennedy finished the last quarter with $1.3 million and state senator Daniel Biss of Evanston had almost $2.7 million in his account.

Here’s a little background on Biss. He grew up in Indiana, graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s in mathematics, went to MIT for his Ph.D. in math, was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.

He was first elected to the Illinois House in 2010. Then the Illinois Senate in 2012 where he still serves. He chairs the human services committee and sits on the education, financial institutions, revenue and appropriations committees.

Senator Biss sat down with 4 The Record for an extended conversation last week.

We asked him how hard it is to get his message out in such a crowded field with a big name like Chris Kennedy in the race and the deep pockets of J.B. Pritzker.

“What we do have in this campaign that has been an extraordinary thing is a network of people around this state who are passionate about taking the state back, who are passionate about building an Illinois that works for the rest of us and who see with Bruce Rauner in the governor’s mansion and Donald Trump in the White House that being an inexperienced billionaire is probably not the best way to actually fix government. And that movement of people we’re building is not only what’s going to carry me to victory in this election… that’s what’s going to allow us to finally transform the state of Illinois, which is in need of transformation.”

Biss was in Springfield for the budget stalemate we saw for more than two years

Democrats blame Rauner for it, Republicans blame Michael Madigan.

Voters blame all of them.

Biss is one of two state lawmakers running for governor.

He talked about whether it is a tough sell to voters and if they think he’s part of the problem.

“Nobody is proud of the output of Springfield,” Biss said. “The two-year, six-day budget stalemate was a catastrophic mess, and while Bruce Rauner does deserve an awful lot of the blame, I think every single person who’s there must assume responsibility as well, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Biss also cited his record of fighting special interests, creating surprising coalitions and getting more than 80 bills passed into law.

“I think what we need in Springfield as our governor is someone who knows something about how government works but also has a record of standing up to entrenched interests and winning. I’m the only candidate in this race with that profile,” Biss said.

Biss also addressed the change in running mate from Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to state representative Litesa Wallace.

“I’m proud of the way that I changed course quickly and decisively,” Biss said, while praising Wallace as a “great partner” for his campaign and for government.

Biss has more than $2.5 million in his campaign account as of the last quarterly filing.

That would be a lot in most elections, but will it be enough with a billionaire in the race?

“We have to decide,” Biss said. “Do we want an election, or do we want to have an auction?”

See the entire interview in the video above.               

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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