Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker outspent Republican challenger Darren Bailey more than 23-to-1 in July through September, according to quarterly campaign finance reports.
The reports show Pritzker spending nearly $38.5 million — including $15.2 million for other state and local candidates — the previous three months.
Pritzker gave $6 million to the House Democrats’ campaign arm, $3 million to the Democratic Party of Illinois and $1 million apiece to the campaigns of Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Democratic secretary of state nominee Alexi Giannoulias, the Cook County Democratic Party and the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm.
Democratic Illinois Supreme Court candidates Mary Kay O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford also received $500,000 each.
Of the more than $23 million that did not go towards other candidates, about $15.5 million went towards media buys, meaning Pritzker has spent on average about $1.2 million per week on advertising.
Pritzker, a self-funding billionaire, has dropped more than $155 million into his reelection campaign after spending more than $172 million to defeat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.
Last quarter, Pritzker wrote another $20 million check to his campaign, which reported having $42.3 million on hand as of Sept. 30.
Bailey, on the other hand, reported raising just $2 million last quarter, which including $1 million from billionaire Richard Uihlein. Bailey spent about $1.6 million last quarter and had about $766,982 on hand as of Sept. 30 — though he has since received some more contributions in the intervening weeks.
This relative lack of cash kept Bailey off television for most of the general election campaign. He debuted an ad earlier this month that’s airing in the Chicago television market.
Money is not the be-all and end-all in politics, but it is important. Simply put, money allows campaigns to communicate with voters on a mass scale. The most expensive medium as well as the most effective in moving voters is television.
A well-resourced campaign like Pritzker’s has run campaign advertisements nonstop since the beginning of the year. Whereas Bailey, has struggled with fundraising and, as a result, has not been up on air.
However, Bailey has gotten some help from allies, such as conservative radio host Dan Proft, whose People Who Play By the Rules political action committee has been airing ads hitting Pritzker and Democrats on the issue of crime.
That PAC has received more than $33 million from Uihlein this year, including a $13 million contribution earlier this month.
However, it appears Pritzker’s ads have had their impact on Bailey. In two recent polls, the governor leads his Republican challenger by 15 points.
The most recent poll showed Bailey viewed favorably by just 29% of Illinois voters compared to 52% who viewed him unfavorably.
Pritzker has hit Bailey with some hard messaging highlighting his controversial statements and conservative positions on issues like abortion. It appears to be working in blue leaning Illinois.
The election is less than three weeks away.
Here are some more fundraising highlights:
Democratic nominee Nikki Budzinski continues to outpace Republican nominee Regan Deering in both spending and fundraising.
Budzinski raised just over $1 million last fundraising quarter, bringing her total this election cycle to more than $3.1 million.
After spending nearly the exact same amount that she raised last quarter, Budzinski had about $1 million on hand as of Sept. 30.
Deering reported raising $1.35 million last quarter, including $850,000 that she personally loaned her campaign. That brings Deering’s total personal investment in the race to $1 million.
However, Deering started the general election with less cash than Budzinski. And after spending $848,301 last quarter, she had $539,697 in the back, about half Budzinski’s war chest.
Budzinski also has the benefited from outside spending on her behalf, with House Majority PAC, a committee closely aligned with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, dropping more than $438,000 on the race. And a super PAC closely aligned with Emily’s List, a group that supports pro-choice Democratic women for office, has spent more than $1 million on the race.
Thus far, national Republicans and aligned groups have not devoted resources to the race.
Based on fundraising and outside spending, the Illinois 17th Congressional District is the ballgame — at least when it comes to competitive open House seats.
Democratic nominee Eric Sorensen actually outraised Republican Esther Joy King last quarter $1.5 million to $1.28 million between July and the end of September.
However, King emerged from the primary election in June with a massive $1.8 million to $114,509 cash advantage. As a result, she spent more last quarter and still had significantly more cash on hand ($1.38 million to $294,396) than Sorensen as Sept. 30th.
But King and Sorensen’s spending is just a part of the story. National Republicans and Democrats along with allied groups have dropped more than $7 million into the northwestern Illinois-based seat.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Ca., has spent more than $3 million in the race.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has dropped nearly $1.9 million while the House Majority PAC has spent more than $800,000. 314 Action Fund, a PAC that seeks to elect more scientists to office, has also poured in $1.3 million on Sorensen’s behalf.
Where political parties spend their money is telling. Based on this, the results of this race may represent a barometer on the mood of the country and which way the election will ultimately go.
Other statewide races
- Democratic secretary of state nominee Alexi Giannoulias reported more than $3.1 million last fundraising quarter, including $1 million from Pritzker. He had more than $2.5 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Republican nominee Dan Brady, on the other hand, reported raising just $318,150 and only had $248,747 on hand. Giannoulias outspent Brady $1.35 million to $75,163, or nearly 18 to 1 in the previous three months.
- Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul raised $1.58 million — including $1 million from Pritzker — last quarter and had nearly $1.9 million in the bank. Republican challenger Tom DeVore reported raising $467,843, which includes $250,000 that he personally loaned his campaign. DeVore had $295,748 available at the end of the month.
- Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Mike Frerichs raised $646,539, bringing his total on hand to more than $2.3 million. Republican challenger Tom Demmer raised only $90,908, bringing his banked total to $460,996.
- Incumbent Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza raised $623,005 last quarter, brining her total on hand to more than $1.4 million. Republican challenger Shannon Teresi raised only $38,252 and had just $26,223 in the bank on Sept. 30.
Contact Brenden Moore at 217-421-7984. Follow him on Twitter: @brendenmoore13
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October 19, 2022 at 05:20PM