Here’s Who’s Running for Governor of Illinois

8 photos
Getty Images
Incumbent Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has refused to officially say he's running for re-election, despite embarking on a two-day tour of the state paid for by his campaign fund on Tuesday - a fund into which he dumped $50 million in December. 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 nearly two-year-long budget impasse.
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, saying he "plans to build a movement to take our state back from wealthy and insider interests."
The only candidate hailing from southern Illinois thus far, 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 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 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, reportedly aims to partially self-fund his campaign.
Taylor Burkhalter
47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar was one of the first candidates to announce his run for governor in January, telling NBC 5, “I am running because we’ve gotten to a point in this country where wealth worship is the only qualifier for public office, trumping public policy." Pawar, who holds three graduate degrees in urban planning, disaster management and social policy, first ran for alderman in 2011. He entered that race as an underdog, challenging retiring alderman Eugene Schulter’s anointed pick, Tom O’Donnell - who also boasted the backing of 47th Ward resident Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Skokie native Alex Paterakis said he decided to run for governor in October as a response to the nation’s increasingly polarized political landscape. A small business owner, the 29-year-old political newcomer is campaigning on a progressive platform that includes a minimum wage hike, marijuana legalization, and an agenda to oppose President Donald Trump.
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 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 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 190th richest person in the country last year, with a net worth of $3.4 billion - making him another candidate capable of self-funding his campaign.
Contact Us