Without Rauner money, GOP faces tough legislative races

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Republicans who gained ground in the Illinois General Assembly two years ago with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s financial help face a tougher go of it this year.

Rauner and his top contributors poured more than $40 million into legislative races in 2016. The GOP picked up seats in the House and Senate.

Rauner hoped for further gains in 2018. But he’s struggling in a re-election bid against Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

Elections expert Kent Redfield of the University of Illinois at Springfield says Rauner has given nearly $14 million to state races this year. But billionaire Pritzker’s $7.5 million for Democrats offsets that.

The GOP is on the offensive in southern Illinois where President Donald Trump remains popular. Democrats are defending seats in suburban Chicago but making a play for some traditionally Republican posts, too.Sign up to have a weekly roundup of our best 2018 election coverage delivered straight to your inbox: http://apne.ws/hzZJF7Z