Illinois Gubernatorial Campaign To Be One Of The Most Expensive In History


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Vandana Rambaran Political Reporter
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The race for governor of Illinois is becoming one of the most expensive in U.S. history, according to a report by Politico on Monday.

Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker is planning to air $1 million campaign ads on Tuesday, in an effort to unseat Republican incumbent and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in the upcoming midterm elections. He has already funneled $25 million into his campaign this week.

Rauner intends to run a counter ad on Tuesday, airing parts of a phone recording between former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Pritzker, where they joke about appointing Rev. Jeremiah Wright for a run in senate.

Wright has been a controversial figure since a 2008 ABC News report compiled a number of divisive statements the reverend had made throughout his career about the role of race in American history. Wright was former President Barack Obama’s pastor, but Obama distanced himself from the pastor after the controversy ensued.

The telephone conversations from Nov. 14, 2008 between Blagojevich and Pritzker were gathered during an FBI wiretap of Blagojevich when he was being investigated for corruption charges. He was later removed from office and imprisoned.

The Chicago Tribune published parts of the audio back in February that Rauner plans to use in his ad. Blagojevich says “Right there on the Senate floor. ‘It’s not God Bless America. It’s God Damn America.'”

Pritzker replies “God Damn America.”

Pritzker has already spent $100 million of his own personal funds but a source close to his campaign told Politico “For every dollar he [Rauner] spends, we’re ready to spend two.”

Rauner has spent $30 million thus far campaigning. (RELATED: For Illinois Voters, The Governor’s Race Is Like The Iran-Iraq War)

In total, primary candidates in Illinois’ race for governor have spent $200 million, a number that’s expected to climb even higher within the next five  months, making this election potentially the most expensive in U.S. history, according to Politico.

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