IL-GOV: How Much Will the Democratic Primary Cost

Published on Author Scott KennedyLeave a comment

Yesterday JB Pritzker’s campaign announced that he had contributed $7 million to his campaign, on top of the $200,000 he had previously given. It appears that because of some technical difficulties the A-1 disclosing it didn’t get filed, probably early next week.

If Pritzker has already committed $7 million towards the Democratic primary it raises the question of how much will it cost to have a chance in this primary? You probably don’t have to spend the most money to win the nomination but each candidate will have to spend enough to communicate effectively.
Here is a list of how much was spent by each Democratic candidate for Governor in the last four gubernatorial primaries that we have data for (the electronic filing era).

Cycle Candidate Period Amount Spent Vote
2014 Pat Quinn Jan 2011 – Mar 2014 $2,800,595.36 71.94%
2014 Tio Hardiman Oct 2013 – Mar 2014 $36,267.23 28.06%
2010 Pat Quinn Jan 2007 – Mar 2010 $7,543,975.34 50.46%
2010 Dan Hynes Jan 2007 – Mar 2010 $8,088,587.44 49.54%
2006 Rod Blagojevich Jan 2003 – Mar 2006 $10,593,035.28 70.84%
2006 Edwin Eisendrath Dec 2005 – Mar 2006 $1,545,344.36 29.16%
2002 Rod Blagojevich Jun 2000 – Mar 2002 $7,532,598.65 36.50%
2002 Paul Vallas Jul 2001 – Mar 2002 $3,342,309.11 34.47%
2002 Roland Burris Jun 2001 – Mar 2002 $2,001,412.81 29.03%

In 2014 Pat Quinn had token opposition and was able to get through the primary with just $2.8 million whereas the two most competitive primaries here, 2002 and 2010, each had $7.5 million spent by the winner. The 2006 number for Blagojevich is skewed a bit high because he started what was essentially a general election TV campaign in February and then didn’t really come down until late summer so his TV numbers look high here.

What’s the minimum amount that’s needed to win here? It’s hard to say but Vallas came just short spending $3.3 million and that was 15 years ago so costs have certainly gone up. It’s hard to imagine a candidate winning this primary on less than that.

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