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GOP’s Bruce Rauner raising — and spending — big on governor’s race

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

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Updated: November 3, 2013 6:35AM

Millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner reported Tuesday that he has raised $1 million for his GOP gubernatorial primary race over the past three months — marking the third consecutive quarter he reached or neared seven figures in donations.

The rate at which Rauner is raising money appears to be dwarfing his opponents. But so too is the rate at which he’s spending it.

The Rauner campaign reports it will have about $600,000 cash on hand by the time filings are due Oct. 15, having spent around $2.3 million. The period covered by the reports is the three months ending Monday night.

By contrast, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford bragged in a tweet that he had $1.2 million “cash on hand, all bills paid and no debt.”

Rauner’s gubernatorial campaign tells the Sun-Times it will close out the quarter raising more than $1 million from 1,300 donors.

“We had $915,000 in the second quarter — so we increased our fund-raising this quarter, which is difficult, especially for first-time candidates, in it’s difficult because you reach out to your first round of friends,” says campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf. “We’ve had three consecutive [almost] $1 million quarters.”

Rauner, a newcomer to politics who is likely addressing his lack of name recognition, has sunk “a major investment in data and infrastructure,” says Schrimpf. He added that a “bulk” of the expenditures are on local TV ad buys. The campaign is also running ads on radio and digital platforms.

By trumpeting that he’s collected money from more than 1,000 people Rauner is hoping to extinguish the message from his opponents that he’s just a millionaire trying to buy public office.

Rutherford has consistently polled at or near the top in the four-way GOP primary race. He told the Sun-Times he will report raising $333,000 from 1,400 donors in the quarter that just ended He said he still has $1.2 million in the bank because he has not had to spend on TV ads in the early stages of the campaign.

“This is not my first time running statewide,” Rutherford said. “I have already been all over Illinois.”

Also polling high is contender state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). Brady narrowly lost in the 2010 general election to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Brady’s final totals were not available, but in preliminary filings he reported raising less than $50,000 in larger donations in the last period.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) has reported raising less than $250,000 in larger donations so far — including a $50,000 transfer from his own Dillard for Senate committee. Dillard said on Tuesday that he expected to have about half a million dollars on hand by the end of the filing period.

“Our campaign spent the last quarter rolling out my announcement for governor and an announcement for Jil Tracy,” Dillard said, referring to his lieutenant governor running mate.

“Illinois, to its credit, has never allowed a multi-millionaire to buy a governor’s chair or a U.S. Senate seat. We have also spent an extraordinary amount of time in the Dillard campaign putting together a really great grass-roots operation, which is where the votes really come from.”


Twitter: @natashakorecki

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