Governor campaign could become most expensive in history

Mar 19, 2014

With the outcome of the primary election settled, Illinois politicians are turning their attention to November. The campaign for governor could become the most expensive race in the state's history.

Investor Bruce Rauner won a narrow victory in the Republican primary. To do so, he spent a lot of his own money -- it works out to a little more than $18 per vote, about the cost of that cheap watch he touted in TV ads.

A big part of Rauner's message involved beating up on government labor unions.

Political science professor Kent Redfield, who's long tracked campaign spending in Illinois, says that will continue to attract a lot of national interest.

"The money within the state and the outside money is going to just dwarf anything we've ever seen in a governor's race."

Redfield says, unlike Rauner's primary opponents, incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn should be plenty well funded by unions and national Democratic allies. But because Rauner is rich enough to pay his own way if he has to, Redfield says Quinn needs to remain a strong candidate in order to maintain funding parity.

"His situation is much more fragile than Rauner's."

TV ads have already started in the race. The election is more than seven months away.