CHICAGO (AP) — The heated race for Illinois governor is shattering state records for campaign fundraising and spending, fueled by a deep-pocketed GOP candidate and intense national interest in what's expected to be one of the closest contests in the country.
Combined, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner have had at least $58 million to spend on the general election so far, according to Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield who analyzed campaign finance reports filed with the state.
With about three weeks remaining before Nov. 4, that's roughly $20 million more than Quinn and Republican state Sen. Bill Brady spent on the 2010 general election, and about double the total for the 2006 race.
Redfield says the higher numbers are a sign of what's at stake this year, as national Republicans see capturing President Barack Obama's home state as a potential coup, and organized labor sees Rauner's anti-union positions as a major threat.
"You've really got both sides engaged," Redfield said Wednesday.
Here's a look at how some of the numbers break down:
Rauner led Quinn in total resources available between April 1 and Tuesday, with about $36 million to Quinn's approximately $22 million, Redfield said.
The wealthy venture capitalist from Winnetka has given his campaign about $17 million since the start of the election cycle, more than any other candidate for Illinois governor in history. That includes about $10 million Rauner put in his campaign fund just for the general election.
The previous record was held by GOP businessman Ron Gidwitz, who put about $5.3 of his own money into his failed 2006 primary bid and is now finance chairman for Rauner's campaign.
Rauner also has received millions from the Republican Governors Association and business allies such as Chicago hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin, who has donated $4.5 million.
In an emailed statement Wednesday, Rauner said he has received more than 27,000 donations since he declared in early 2013 he was running for office.
Quinn's biggest donors are the Democratic Governors Association and labor unions, which have given millions to his campaign fund.
The labor groups also are indirectly helping him through an anti-Rauner campaign committee that has spent more than $4 million in the general election on attack ads.
Both Quinn and Rauner also are surpassing the previous record for total money spent by a candidate in a governor's race. Imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich set the high mark in 2006, at about $22 million.
AD WARS ESCALATE
Rauner and Quinn spent a huge chunk of their money on television advertising, matching each other almost dollar-for-dollar as their TV war escalated in recent weeks. According to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, the candidates each spent about $8 million on airtime between Sept. 9 and Oct. 6, the most recent date for which information is available.
So far this election cycle, more than $46.2 million has been spent on TV ads for all Illinois races. That's the third highest amount of any state, surpassed only by Florida and Texas.