CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has socked away $2.9 million for his 2014 re-election campaign – more than the combined total of his four potential Republican rivals, who continue to battle for donors and the GOP nomination.
Quinn, a Chicago Democrat who has no major challenger in the March primary, raised about $813,000 during the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, according to reports filed with the state late Tuesday.
On the Republican side, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa raised about $337,000 and finished the period with about $1.2 million, the most of any GOP candidate. He said more than 1,400 people contributed, which he called a sign that he has "a dramatically broad and deep donor base," and said internal polls show the campaign is well positioned.
"We are in extremely good shape," said Rutherford, the only statewide GOP officeholder vying for the nomination.
Billionaire businessman Bruce Rauner raised about $1 million during the third quarter — more than anyone else in the race. But the political newcomer from Winnetka also spent $1.1 million, much of it on advertising to increase his name recognition. That left him with about $594,000 in his campaign fund.
Still, Rauner has the personal wealth and connections to spend considerably more. He also will benefit from a committee he controls that was created to push for term limits. Unlike candidate political committees — which have caps on how much money they may accept from individuals and groups — ballot initiative committees like Rauner's Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits can accept unlimited donations.
In the third quarter, the committee brought in about $606,000, finishing with about $459,000 in the bank. The top donors were businessman Richard Uihlein and investor Howard Rich, who each donated $250,000, and who each already have maxed out the amount — $5,300 — they could give to Rauner's candidate political fund for the primary. Investor Sam Zell gave $100,000 to the term limits committee.
In a statement earlier this month Rauner said that while fundraising is important, he's committed to running a grass-roots campaign. He says he's traveled more than 20,000 miles around the state to meet with voters.
State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who won his party's nomination in 2010 and lost to Quinn in the general election, raised $66,000 in the third quarter and had about $273,000 on hand. He said he isn't concerned that others have more money.
"I've been outspent before and won," Brady said.
He also said his campaign has been trying to give supporters "some breathing room" after his tight 2010 contest and his 2012 state Senate race.
"Frankly, we haven't done as much asking as others," Brady said.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who lost the 2010 GOP primary to Brady by a narrow margin, brought in about $314,000 and finished with about $205,000.
Quinn, meanwhile, can continue to stockpile money for several months, thanks to former White House chief of staff Bill Daley's decision last month to abandon a Democratic primary challenge. Attorney General Lisa Madigan also announced in July she wouldn't take on Quinn, choosing instead to seek re-election.
Quinn's third-quarter fundraising total was smaller than the second quarter, when the primary field was still unclear and he raised more than $1 million. His biggest donors this period were labor unions and affiliated groups, including the Political Fund of Illinois and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.