Big Names Face off in Illinois Governor Race

Following an expensive campaign in the race for Illinois governor, it now comes down to three Democratic front-runners and two GOP ones.

On the Democratic side, billionaire hotel heir J.B. Pritzker, Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss, and Chris Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, have remained in the race and on the Republican side, incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner and Representative Jeanne Ives.

During his tenure, Rauner has taken heat from both the left and right and, despite pouring over $50 million of his own money into his re-election bid, is facing an energetic primary challenge from conservative Ives, ABC News writes.

Rauner has been hindered by a budget crisis during his first term, while last week he vetoed a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature that would have required all gun dealers in the state to obtain a license. According to critics, the move was a way to sure up support with his Republican base ahead of Tuesday.

The Democratic front runner Pritzker has dominated the fundraising race, and loaned his campaign an additional $6.3 million last week, bringing his total investment in the race thus far close to $70 million. Pritzker made a stop in Rockford to chat with union electrical workers before hitting DeKalb, Peoria and Springfield and plans to visit commuters at several CTA stops around Chicago on Tuesday.

Kennedy also made the central and downstate swing on Monday, drumming up votes in Bartonville and Cahokia by promising new jobs and quality education.

Meanwhile, Governor Bruce Rauner has accused Democrats of butting into the GOP primary to try to influence the outcome. Ives, however, calls the charge “an act of desperation.” A political ad from the Democratic Governors Association seems to criticize Ives, which Rauner deems an attempt to mislead people and have them vote for Ives “because they know they can beat her in November.”

Republicans are confident that the rumors of Rauner’s political demise are overblown, and say the Democratic strategy of “meddling” in the Republican primary shows their lack of confidence in Pritzker as a winning candidate.

Pritzker, whose competition for the Democratic nomination includes Christopher Kennedy and Daniel Biss, has been dogged by his connection to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for violating corruption laws.

In an attempt to tie Pritzker to Blagojevich and weaken his political standing ahead of November, Rauner has run ads featuring a recording of the two men discussing who would fill the U.S. Senate seat once held by former President Barack Obama. Pritzker has denied any wrongdoing but last month called the calls “regrettable” when asked at a news conference.

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