SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ This year’s Illinois governor’s race between ultra-wealthy candidates could be the costliest in U.S. history and critics say it perfectly illustrates the need for a campaign finance system that isn’t so rigged in favor of the rich.
Some legislators are pushing for a system that would match small campaign donations with public funds. Though the proposal was approved by the state Senate last year, its chances are bleak in the Illinois House, despite the attention given to two extremely wealthy candidates who are financing their campaigns with millions of dollars of their own money.
Billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker has already contributed $76.5 million toward his campaign and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has given $50 million to his own. They are on track to surpass the record-high $280 million spent on California’s 2010 governor’s race.
Critics say the Illinois race is a great example of how the campaign finance system discourages diversity among candidates and limits ballot access for hopefuls not beholden to well-heeled special interests.