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Poll Shows Gap Between Kennedy & Pritzker In Gov. Race Grows Smaller

By aaroncynic in News on Jul 11, 2017 6:59PM

Illinois Gubernatorial Democratic primary candidates JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy (photos Aaron Cynic/Kennedy For Illinois)

A survey conducted in late June showed gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy still holding a lead over JB Pritzker, though the gap between the two is quickly disappearing.

A Garin-Hart-Yang survey conducted between June 26 and 29 showed Kennedy maintaining his lead with 44 percent of those polled leaning towards him, and 38 percent towards Priztker. While Kennedy’s figure remained the same compared to a poll taken on behalf of Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers—before he decided not to run—Pritzker at the time only took 11 percent of likely primary voters.

In a press release published by Capitol Fax, the Kennedy camp attributed the lead to Pritzker’s billionaire status, pointing out that so far he’s spent $8 million on television and direct mail ads.

“Democratic primary voters want radical change in Springfield, and they aren’t falling in love with Pritzker’s big wallet,” said campaign manager Brendan O’Sullivan in a statement. “Big money talks, it doesn’t listen, and voters are tired of billionaires in both parties trying to buy their votes. It’s why Chris has maintained a strong lead even in the face of record spending against him.”

The Pritzker camp in turn, pointed out that the two polls show support more than tripled for the billionaire.

“It’s exciting to see Chris Kennedy’s own internal polling numbers confirming the surging support and enthusiasm that JB has been feeling around the state,” said campaign manager Anne Caprara in a statement emailed to Chicagoist. “A 27-point polling jump in three months would be exciting for any campaign, but it’s particularly encouraging given the strong recognition of the Kennedy name. JB is proud to be growing his support with Illinois' working families and grateful to Chris Kennedy for letting people know.”

The Garin-Hart-Yang survey showed 18 percent of those polled were still undecided. Despite at least another half dozen candidates in the field for the Democratic primary - including Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, State Rep. Scott Drury, Bob Daiber, Alex Paterakis, Tio Hardiman, and State Senator Daniel Biss - the survey only put Kennedy and Pritzker head to head.

Quarterly campaign fundraising disclosures through June of 2017 are due Monday, July 17. While it’s nearly certain that the billionaire will lead the pack, Biss could surpass Kennedy. Numbers published by the Illinois Sunshine Foundation, which tracks campaign fundraising, break down like this*:

JB Pritzker: $14,141,369.59 (including $14 million in contributions since March 31st)
Daniel Biss: $2,384,583.57 (including $792,502.50 in contributions since March 31st)
Chris Kennedy: $1,349,762.53 (including $442,334.92 in contributions since March 31st)
Scott Drury: $331,182.73 (including $46,200.00 in contributions since March 31st)
Ameya Pawar: $325,178.05 (including $78,975.00 in contributions since March 31st)
Bob Daiber: $50,030.17 (including $12,500.00 in contributions since March 31st)

Collectively, that’s more than $18.5 million. While that might seem like an almost absurd amount of money for a gubernatorial primary race, it still pales in comparison to the money in Governor Bruce Rauner’s campaign war chest. Rauner in fact, appears to be on track to raise more than all of his would-be challengers combined, taking in at least $20,390,826.41 since March 31, giving him a whopping $70,783,456.98.

*Numbers for Paterakis and Hardiman were not immediately available.