Here's Who's Running for Governor of Illinois

As the race for Illinois governor continues to heat up, take a look at the candidates vying for the job.

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Incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner officially announced his run for re-election in late October with a video in which he doubled down on a few familiar refrains, promising to fight "corrupt career politicians" and pushing for elements of his so-called "Turnaround" agenda. Rauner has already raised more than $70 million for his re-election bid, $50 million of which he personally dumped into his campaign fund in December 2016. That contribution was the single largest political donation in the state's history, eclipsing the previous record Rauner set when he poured $10 million into his campaign in 2014. A native of Winnetka, Rauner spent $65 million total on his 2014 gubernatorial bid, his first run for public office after a career spent in venture capital. Since taking office, Rauner has often pledged to freeze property taxes, set term limits for politicians and institute business-friendly reforms - though he has spent much of his term at odds with the Democratic-controlled legislature, and has faced criticism over the state's two year budget impasse.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, who has represented Wheaton for five years, filed to officially challenge Rauner in the Republican primary after publicly mulling a run for months. Her decision was sparked in part by Rauner's signing of a measure to allow Illinois to cover abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients. She also said she disagrees with his approval of an education funding reform plan as well as a bill to make Illinois a so-called "sanctuary state." Although Rauner has dismissed her as a "fringe" candidate, Ives has garnered the support of various conservative organizations looking to take down the first-term incumbent from the right.
State Senator Daniel Biss, of Evanston, is a former University of Chicago math professor who has represented the 9th District since 2013. Prior to running for the Illinois State Senate, Biss served in the Illinois House of Representatives for one term. He announced his candidacy via Facebook Live in March 2017, saying he "plans to build a movement to take our state back from wealthy and insider interests." Biss has continually painted himself as a "grassroots" alternative to the multiple billionaire candidates in the race, and won a straw poll conducted after a forum organized by dozens of women's groups in December.
The only candidate hailing from southern Illinois, Bob Daiber currently serves as Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools, a role he has held since 2007. Calling himself an "advocate for labor," Daiber said in his February 2017 announcement that he wants to address the state's financial problems - without anti-union efforts like right-to-work legislation similar to what Rauner has championed in the past.
Chris Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, announced his candidacy in February 2017 after months of speculation. In the year leading up to his announcement, Kennedy met with labor and party leaders across the state and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, slamming Rauner in front of the Illinois delegation. Kennedy, who previously managed Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and now heads a hunger-relief nonprofit alongside his wife, has also turned to his own personal wealth to fund his campaign, cutting his committee two checks in 2017 worth a total of $500,000.
Chicago community organizer Tio Hardiman threw his hat in the ring in June 2017, after unsuccessfully running for governor in 2014. A former director of CeaseFire Illinois, Hardiman is best known as an anti-violence advocate and has made that community work central to his campaign platform. Hardiman faces a financial challenge in the race, as his campaign committee has raised just $5,445 versus the committees of multiple self-funding billionaires.
Physician Robert Marshall has run for multiple offices as both a Republican and a Democrat. He ran for state representative in 1988 and 1994, as well as for a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1992 as a Republican, and was a Burr Ridge trustee from 1989 to 1993. He then ran for Congress in 1998 and lost to Rep. Bill Lipinski in the general election. After switching parties to become a Democrat, he unsuccessfully ran for both the U.S. Senate in 2010, then for the 6th District in 2016, losing in the primary election. He has also self-funded, donating $29,000 to his campaign in two contributions.
Billionaire J.B. Pritzker is a member of the Pritzker family, most famous for owning the Hyatt hotel chain. After months of speculation, Pritzker announced in April 2017 that he would join the growing field of candidates looking to unseat Rauner. A powerful Democratic fundraiser, Pritzker was deeply involved in both of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns and has contributed to candidates including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. His sister Penny Pritzker served in President Obama's administration, while Pritzker himself unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1998. A venture capitalist, Forbes listed Pritzker as the fifth richest person in Illinois, with a net worth of $3.4 billion. Pritzker has almost entirely self-funded his campaign, pouring more $42 million into his committee in six separate $7 million contributions.
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