Rauner Pumps $50 Million Into Re-Election Bid

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) “is dumping $50 million into his 2018 race for reelection, an infusion of cash that’s an indication he’s prepared to spend big bucks to win a second term,” Politico reports.

“The investment could be designed to scare off a prospective bid by Democratic venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who is seen as a potential opponent.”

Liberal Mega Donors Look to Run for Governor

“In three major states with a governor’s mansion up for grabs in 2018, a big-name, politically active billionaire or multimillionaire is taking steps toward a run — donors looking to take matters into their own hands after 2016’s gutting losses,” Politico reports.

“In Florida, it’s John Morgan, a wealthy attorney who has long been one of the Democratic Party’s biggest swing-state fundraisers. In Illinois, it’s J.B. Pritzker, the businessman and philanthropist with a history of pumping cash and Chicago political support toward Hillary Clinton. And in California, it’s Tom Steyer, the hedge fund manager-turned climate activist who used the 2014 and 2016 election cycles to become one of the left’s single biggest donors, to the tune of over $140 million. And more may be on the way.”

“It’s an unexpected development that stands to inject new life into the Democratic Party — but it also exposes the lack of clear pipeline for young, rising Democrats after a series of losses, at a time when they are down to just 18 governors across the country, from 29 just eight years ago.”

Kennedy Moves Towards Bid for Illinois Governor

Chris Kennedy (D), son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is interviewing potential pollsters and consultants as he moves toward a possible 2018 gubernatorial run in Illinois, Politico reports.

“Top Illinois Democrats who have met with Kennedy say they would welcome his candidacy but were not sure if he’ll actually make the run, given his flirtations with higher office in the past.”

Illinois Inauguration Raises Questions of Influence

Incoming Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) campaigned as a reformer of the state’s often corrupt politics, Reuters reports.

“But watchdog groups say activities surrounding his inauguration Monday are among the priciest of any incoming governor and take advantage of a loophole in campaign finance that allows wealthy special interests to gain access to those who hold political power. These groups say Rauner’s inauguration festival — with a total tab estimated to reach $10 million — is emblematic of a trend in other states. The costly celebrations, funded by private donors, skirt ethics laws and open conflicts of interest for elected officials, the critics say.”