GOP megadonor tops $50M in donations to Darren Bailey, conservative super-PAC

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
GOP megadonor tops $50M in donations to Bailey, conservative super-PAC
Richard Uihlein has now topped $50 million in total donations to Darren Bailey and the People Who Play By the Rules PAC working on his behalf.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The big money continues to pour into the Illinois governor's race. A major Republican donor has now topped $50 million in total donations to Darren Bailey and a super-PAC working on his behalf.

Fresh off his first television debate with Governor JB Pritzker, Darren Bailey's campaign got a financial boost to help him in the stretch run, with the general election one month from Tuesday.

RELATED | Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Darren Bailey face off in heated 1st debate

Governor JB Pritzker and Republican candidate Darren Bailey squared off in their first head-to-head televised debate. which was often heated.

Republican mega-donor Richard Uihlein donated $13.9 million dollars to Dan Proft's super-PAC, People Who Play By The Rules, which has been funding attack ads against JB Pritzker.

All told, Uihlein has given $42 million to the PAC, and another $10 million directly to Bailey. But at this stage of the election, experts say the ads may not change many minds.

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"Money is necessary, but it's not sufficient. You know, it gets you so far," said Prof. Emeritus Kent Redfield, University of Illinois Springfield. "You got to have the right candidate in the right election, and so you can't win with just money."

Billionaire Ken Griffin tried in the Republican primary, donating $50 million to Richard Irvin's campaign. He came in third.

RELATED | RELATED: 2022 Election: Voter Information in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Pritzker, on the other side of the aisle, is self-financing his campaign. So far, he's pumped $145 million into his reelection coffers.

Darren Bailey is launching a new ad on the Chicago airwaves Wednesday, continuing his campaign's messaging about crime concerns, thanks to a $700,000 donation from his mother.

"Bailey really needs the positive kind of change ads, and frankly he doesn't have the money," Redfield said. "And the People Who Play by the Rules campaign don't seem to be interested at this point of promoting him."

What this election cycle may reinforce in Illinois politics, particularly in major statewide races, is that it is no longer just for the rich, but for the super-rich -- or for those candidates who have the money and are willing to spend it on campaigns.