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Along with geographical balance, Tracy bringing dollars to Dillard campaign

Along with geographical balance, Tracy bringing dollars to Dillard campaign

1 year, 6 months ago from Chicago Tribune

Lt. Gov. candidate from Quincy says gubernatorial opponent Bruce Rauner has "locked down" traditional GOP big donors

From from Chicago Tribune:

Click here for video.

Unable to raise the kind of campaign money Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner has collected, state Sen. Kirk Dillard has turned to the checkbook of his running mate.

Since October, state Rep. Jil Tracy and members of her family have provided Dillard with $115,000 — about 40 percent of the nearly $300,000 in large donations the GOP candidate has received, campaign records show.

Tracy is married to James Tracy, whose parents founded Dot Foods in Downstate Mt. Sterling, one of the nation’s largest food distributorships. The running mate’s donations to Dillard reflect a change in state law that now requires candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team.

Asked Monday if Rep. Tracy was keeping the team’s bid afloat ahead of the March 18 primary, Dillard replied “Ask her.”

Tracy said the campaign is trying to raise money but acknowledged the difficulty of the task. “This is an unusual election cycle with Rauner, who has the traditional high-executive money people who routinely donate to Republicans. He’s kind of locked that down.”

Dillard, state Sen. Bill Brady and Treasurer Dan Rutherford each have criticized Rauner, an equity manager, for being out of touch with voters and seeking to buy the GOP governor nomination.

Rauner, making his first bid for public office, has put $2.25 million of his own money into the race and raised an additional $6 million since launching his campaign last March.

Money is so tight for Dillard that the Hinsdale senator held a no-cost news conference on a downtown sidewalk to criticize Rauner for using his “incredible wealth” to exercise clout in his personal and business life.

During the last three months of the year, Dillard’s running mate was his largest donor, giving $94,000 from the lieutenant governor campaign fund she created last fall. Tracy and her husband also each gave Dillard $5,300 — donations that list their occupations and employers as “unknown” on disclosure reports Dillard’s campaign team filed with the state.

The campaign’s second largest donor in the final quarter of last year was Dillard’s state Senate campaign fund. It transferred $40,000 to his bid for governor last month.

Tracy’s lieutenant governor campaign fund has raised more than $195,000 since Dillard selected her. That includes more than $100,000 from various Tracy family members, including $70,300 from herself, $6,300 from her husband and another $16,000 from her legislative campaign fund, state records show.

“It is difficult to criticize someone of Bruce’s stature, but anybody who knows the Tracy family knows we live fairly modestly. We are the average American baby boomers,” said Tracy, noting Dot Foods was started out of her in-laws’ station wagon. “We never considered ourselves as wealthy.” Dillard’s sidewalk news conference on Michigan Avenue marked a day of clout accusations hurled at each of the Republican governor candidates.

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