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Darren Bailey gets $2 million from Richard Uihlein

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SPRINGFIELD — Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey received the largest contribution of the general election cycle from his most generous benefactor, billionaire megadonor Richard Uihlein, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records.

Uihlein’s $2 million donation to the state senator from southeastern Illinois came on Tuesday, the same day that Bailey and incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker had their second and final televised debate.

It was the packing and shipping firm CEO’s second donation to Bailey since he won the Republican primary in June. On Aug. 29, Uihlein contributed $1 million to Bailey’s campaign.

Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey participates in a gubernatorial debate against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker at WGN-TV Channel 9 studios in Chicago on Oct. 18, 2022.

Bailey’s mother, Norma Jean Bailey, donated $700,000 to her son’s campaign on Oct. 7, bringing her total campaign contributions to more than $1 million, state records show.

With Tuesday’s donation, Uihlein has given about $54 million to back Bailey, most of it as the chief funding source for a political action committee allied with the state senator and wealthy farmer from Xenia. That PAC, the People Who Play By The Rules, is run by right-wing radio talk show host Dan Proft, of Naples, Florida.

Uihlein gave the PAC $20 million in July, and a $13.9 million contribution on Oct. 5 brought his total contributions to $42 million. The PAC aired $12.5 million worth of ads from July through September and has since spent another $5 million on campaign commercials aimed at helping Bailey get elected.

According campaign finance reports for the year’s third quarter, Bailey raised $2 million from July through September, with half of that coming from Uihlen’s Aug. 29 contribution. Bailey spent $1.6 million during the third quarter, leaving about $767,000in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, the reports show.

Campaign finance reports show Pritzker, a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign, spent more than $38 million between the start of July and the end of September

jgorner@chicagotribune.com



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