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GOP gov foes rip Bruce Rauner’s boast of going ‘toe-to-toe’ vs. Quinn

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner  |  Seth Perlman/AP

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner | Seth Perlman/AP

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Updated: February 4, 2014 10:34AM

GOP gubernatorial primary candidates on Thursday took issue with multimillionaire Bruce Rauner’s declaration that his fund-raising prowess — including $4 million last quarter — makes him the only one in the field who could go “toe-to-toe with Pat Quinn.”

Rauner made the statement as he announced that his campaign took in a whopping $4 million in the fourth quarter of last year — with $1 million coming from his own personal fortune after his self-funding lifted the typically mandated caps on state campaigns.

While final campaign reports haven’t been filed, the number dwarfed his competitors’ fourth-quarter fund-raising. In the 2010 general election against Quinn, the Republican Governors Association infused the campaign of GOP nominee Bill Brady, with $8 million. Brady, a state senator, lost by about 32,000 votes.

“Mr. Rauner’s finally come clean and admits that his major qualification to be the GOP nominee for governor is that he can buy the election,” said competitor state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale. “Unlike my running mate, who provides geographic balance, being from Downstate Illinois, the Rauner ticket is all [in the] Chicago area. I believe geographic balance is crucial to the Republicans chances against Paul Vallas and Pat Quinn.”

Dillard has struggled to put together his fund-raising, and his onetime loyalist, Ron Gidwitz, gravitated to Rauner’s campaign last year. Dillard said he didn’t know what his campaign would report in the fourth quarter. A campaign representative said they were still tallying the numbers but noted a November Public Policy Poll that showed a dead heat in a Dillard-Quinn general election.

The campaign for Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, another primary contender, said Thursday it was poised to report taking in $400,000 in the fourth quarter.

“It’s mostly grass roots right now,” spokesman Brian Sterling said. “Dan’s already been elected statewide, and we’ve seen polling that shows Rutherford can actually beat Quinn.”

Brady is also running in the gubernatorial primary and he too has benefitted from name recognition. However, Rauner is sinking much of his money into advertising that he’s betting will put him over the top in the March primary.

Rauner’s campaign celebrates that the money it raised in the fourth quarter came from more than 1,500 donations. A look at his campaign funds shows sizable gifts from millionaires, including more than $255,000 from Richard Uihlein; more than $250,000 from Citadel chief Ken Griffin, and more than $250,000 from Glen Tullman.

“With national Democrats and government union bosses gearing up to try to hijack the Republican primary, I’m confident we will have the resources to fight back,” Rauner said in a statement. “Republicans, Democrats and government union bosses all know we are the only campaign that can go toe-to-toe with Pat Quinn and the special interests who control state government and win.”


Twitter: @natashakorecki

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