Ives, Biss report decent fundraising in governor races

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With New Year’s now in the rearview mirror, contests for the March primary are entering the stretch run. That makes the latest fundraising totals particularly important, with some good news for Republican Jeanne Ives and Democrat Daniel Biss, mixed news from Democrat Chris Kennedy and not much news at all from Democrat J.B. Pritzker and GOP incumbent Bruce Rauner, who effectively are self-financing their campaigns.

Let’s start with Ives, a social and economic conservative state representative from Wheaton who hopes to ride discontent with Rauner on abortion, immigration and other matters to what would be a huge upset.

Ives’ campaign reports that the fourth-quarter disclosure she’ll file later this month will detail contributions of around $500,000. Some of that already has been reported, such as $50,000 from tech maven William Merchantz, $30,000 from Otto Engineering and $20,000 from consultant and conservative activist Brian Timpone.

Ives hopes to get more at a Lombard luncheon later this week starring radio talk show host Mike Gallagher. Sponsorships are going for up to $25,000 each, and sponsors include industrialist Peter Huizenga and Tom Roeser, son of the late Jack Roeser, who once ran for governor himself.

Notably absent from the list is megadonor Dick Uihlein, a staunch Rauner backer who some think may be convinced to jump ship. “We don’t have anything from him,” says Ives spokeswoman Kathleen Murphy. “It hasn’t happened yet, so we’re not counting on it.”

Today, Ives is in Washington, meeting with unidentified high rollers. All Murphy would say about the trip is that it doesn’t include a stop at the White House.

Fundraising so far has been successful enough that “we expect to be able to” run ads on broadcast TV later in the campaign, Murphy said.

To really make a mark, Ives will have to at least double and probably triple what she’s raised so far.

No comment from team Rauner.

Meanwhile, Biss, a state senator from Evanston, reported another solid quarter for the period ended Dec. 31. With total donations of $1.095 million, he now has $3.1 million in cash on hand, 78 percent of which the campaign said came in donations of less than $100 and 96 percent from within the state.

With that fundraising, Biss clearly ought to be able to get out a message.

The bigger question is how well the third major candidate, Kennedy, has done. His team hasn’t reported yet, but I hear his total is around $1 million or so. Kennedy has been spending faster than Biss, so when it comes to deployable cash, he actually may be in third place.

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