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Who are the biggest donors to Illinois governor hopefuls? The candidates themselves.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican Bruce Rauner aren’t the only candidates for governor who are the primary funders for their campaigns.

Madison County resident Bob Daiber, a Democratic candidate for governor, is the main benefactor for his bid to be Illinois’ top executive.

According to records filed with the State Board of Elections, Daiber has loaned his campaign $60,000 so far, including $20,000 in the last quarter of 2017. In 2017, Daiber also made “in-kind donations” to his campaign when he paid for more than $11,000 worth of gasoline and hotel costs.

Fundraising and expenditure reports for campaigns which have already formally formed committees were due by Tuesday for the last quarter of 2017. The reports were to be turned in to the State Board of Elections.

Daiber said a lot of expenses were just the investment needed to gather signatures to get on the ballot.

He acknowledged the struggles in raising money and didn’t anticipate needing to loan his campaign this much money.

“We thought we would do better with support of contributions. We’re continuing to work on raising funds, but the success of fundraising has been tough,” Daiber said. “No, I wasn’t anticipating, but I said I would do what I have to do to stay in the race because of the commitment I made to so many people.”

He has raised more than $33,000 for his campaign, mostly from donors in the metro-east, with the median donation being $200.

“We tried to raise money elsewhere. We’re not successful with being able to raise money in Chicago, where some of the bigger money is. You have to realize there’s [five] other candidates up here, too,” Daiber said. “We thought we’d be better in fundraising locally than what we did, but we did not.”

Daiber is one of six candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the March 20 primary, with hopes of moving on to the November general election.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker has been getting many endorsements, including from unions, as well as from the St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee, and metro-east legislators.

Robert Marshall, a doctor from Burr Ridge, also has been using his own resources. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Marshall loaned his campaign $29,000, according to state records.

Tio Hardiman, who again is trying to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination after a failed attempt in 2014, brought in about $1,500 during the last quarter of 2017.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, who is seeking his party’s nomination for governor, raised $1.095 million in the last quarter of 2017. He was able to start airing television advertisements recently to go along with his digital ads.

Chris Kennedy, another Democratic gubernatorial candidate raised $1.04 million during the fourth quarter, but only had $737,000 cash on hand at the end of the quarter. He began advertising on television in November. He is a son of Robert Kennedy.

By the end of last year, Kennedy had put in $750,000 of his own money into his campaign for governor, plus an additional $24,000 of in-kind donations.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who is challenging Rauner for the Republican nomination, raised $433,000 during the last quarter of the year and ended the quarter with $662,000 in the bank.

Rauner’s financial advantage over Ives is translating into a polling lead, according to a survey conducted by We Ask America. Rauner leads Ives 64.6 percent to 20.5 percent of likely voters.

The poll found Ives has a name-recognition problem, as 68.4 percent of voters have never heard of her.

“Over the last 2 months, her name recognition has only improved in tiny increments – especially downstate,” We Ask America said in its analysis.

“With the game clock continuing to tick down, Ives must introduce herself and convince voters that she is the better choice if she has any chance. That’s going take a lot of money and time. The governor will always have a huge advantage on the financial side. And now, time is on Mr. Rauner’s side.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter


©2018 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)

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