Pritzker spends $323M on 2 campaigns for governor
Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent $152 million in defeating state Sen. Darren Bailey for re-election, down from the $171 million for his first Illinois gubernatorial campaign.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker put $152 million into his bid for re-election against state Sen. Darren Bailey, down from $171 million for his 2018 campaign.
On top of self-financing his campaign, Pritzker donated $24 million to the Democratic Governors Association. The association spent millions on TV ads attacking Bailey’s primary opponent Richard Irvin, who was defeated.
The ads encouraged primary voters to pick Bailey over Irvin, who had $50 million in support. By propping up Bailey, Pritzker indirectly chose his opponent for the general election.
Neil Steinberg, columnist from the Chicago Sun-Times, said Pritzker’s avalanche of cash can’t be ignored.
“Can anyone make an observation about him that isn’t somehow tainted by the third of a billion dollars worth of hype firehosed at us over the past four years?” Steinberg wrote.
According to Forbes, Pritzker ranks 797 in the 1,000 wealthiest people in the world. He is an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune. Since taking office in 2019, his net worth has risen from $3.2 billion to $3.6 billion.
Pritzker’s blind trust of investments includes 12 different companies that obtained more than $20 billion in state contracts since he took office.
Pritzker received about 333,000 fewer votes for governor this time than he did in 2018. His opponents in 2018 and 2022 both received over 1.7 million votes, but Bailey lost by about 9 percentage points while former Gov. Bruce Rauner lost by nearly 16 percentage points.
Based on his 2018 and 2022 campaigns, Pritzker has plenty of money to self-finance a presidential campaign.
In his election-night speech, Pritzker didn’t mention Bailey by name but mentioned former President Donald Trump multiple times. The speech fueled more speculation about a presidential bid, but Pritzker said he supports President Biden and expects to serve his full term as governor.