Conservative State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) received a massive donation last week from Lake Forest businessman Richard Uihlein, who formerly backed incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Uihlein wrote Ives’s insurgent campaign a $500,000 check Jan. 24, giving it a boost even as Rauner attempts to look past the March 20 primary and towards likely Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker.
Uihlen’s defection from Rauner may also be a sign of things to come among conservative voters, who may be attracted to a strong alternative.
Rauner won in 2014 on an agenda of reform, but has failed to deliver. He vetoed a tax increase by was overridden by the state’s Democrat-dominated legislature. Worse, from a conservative point of view, he broke a key pledge and signed a law expanding state funding of abortions. He also signed legislation making Illinois a “sanctuary state.”
Ives is a solid conservative who graduated from West Point and served overseas in the U.S. Army. Her only political weakness is her lack of name recognition outside of her district in the western suburbs of Chicago. She trails Rauner by a wide margin in early polls. However, as Crain’s notes, having a sizable campaign war chest will help her advertise.
Recently, Ives told Breitbart News: “Any time conservative voters know that there’s an opponent to Bruce Rauner, they’re motivated to come to the polls and work for me and vote for me. And that’s because my record is one of conservatism, and they are very upset at sanctuary policies, taxpayer funding of abortion, junk science on transgender issues, [and] bailing out Chicago schools with our school money.”
Pritzker, like Rauner, is a billionaire with little prior formal political experience, although he has close ties to the state’s Democratic Party establishment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.