Who Is Dick Uihlein, Ives' Bankroller in the GOP Race for Governor? - NBC Chicago
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Who Is Dick Uihlein, Ives' Bankroller in the GOP Race for Governor?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rauner, Ives Get Heated in Sole Meeting Before the Primary

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and his conservative GOP challenger state Rep. Jeanne Ives met in their only scheduled face-to-face appearance of the campaign Monday. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

    (Published Monday, Jan. 29, 2018)

    Mega political donor Dick Uihlein has made his choice in the GOP primary race for Illinois governor, shifting his allegiance - and his funding - to support the more conservative candidate.

    In doing so, Uihlein, who was already widely considered one of the most influential Republican fundraisers in Illinois, has become an even more prominent figure, as state Rep. Jeanne Ives' backer with the deepest pockets.

    Uihlein donated $2 million to Ives' campaign to unseat incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, her campaign announced Sunday. Just the week before, he sent her an initial contribution of $500,000.

    Those donations are key to keeping Ives' campaign alive against Rauner - a former private equity investor who dumped $50 million into his own war chest in December 2016.

    It also marks a major shift in support. Uihlein has contributed $2.6 million to Rauner in the past, but has not given him anything since 2014, the year he was elected.

    Uihlein has also given $3 million to Liberty Principles PAC, run by Dan Proft, who also once supported Rauner - but no longer.

    Uihlein and his wife Liz own Uline Corporation, a shipping and office supply company that distributes 30,000 products, ranging from bags to bubble wrap to barcode labels. The couple lives in Lake Forest and Wisconsin, often sharing their conservative political views with customers and employees alike.

    In 2010, they moved the company's headquarters from Waukegan to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in exchange for nearly $19 million in tax incentives.

    Liz Uihlein writes a company newsletter that has delved into topics including their support for Fox News, as well as disappointment with government regulation.

    Nationally, Uihlein was a top donor to failed Senate candidate Roy Moore, of Alabama. He is also a strong supporter of President Donald Trump.

    After initially supporting Sen. Ted Cruz's bid for the White House, the Uihleins donated $24 million to Republican politicians and super PACs in 2016.

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