But Pritzker's cash dwarfs Rauner's, and the billionaire Democrat, who already spent close to $70 million to win his primary, is nearly certain to have the edge in campaign spending in what observers say will likely be the most expensive statewide race in USA history.
In the primary, Pritzker defeated Illinois Senator Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy, a businessman and the son of late Robert F Kennedy after spending a whopping $70 million from his own pocket on the campaign. The multi-millionaire spent about $65 million to win his last race in 2014, heavily outspending his opponents in the race, and has dropped tens of millions more already in this contest.
Ives' narrow loss comes despite being at a significant financial disadvantage, raising just four million dollars to Rauner's $103 million.
GOP leaders interviewed expressed no surprise whatsoever that Ives kept it close, citing a series of unpopular decisions by Rauner over the past 18 months.
"I'm sure you thought of this one, but Jesse White", Pritzker says at one point, suggesting the IL secretary of state as a good choice.
Harold has GOP establishment backing and has received campaign contributions from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
A half hour earlier, Rauner took the podium at his own victory party to declare that he had won - even though none of the major news networks had called the race.
"On the issues that we are divided, let's work together to bridge the divide". Last year, the state managed to pass its first budget in two years, overcoming the veto obstacle put up by Rauner.
Meanwhile, there is a bitterly competitive primary on the Democratic side.
In her speech, Ives committed herself to continuing to build the conservative movement in IL. Personal wealth solidified Rauner and Pritzker's front-runner status but also made them frequent targets for opponent attacks. Although he says he has learned his lesson and won't support it again, Pritzker has repeatedly criticized his change of heart. Democrat Pritzker will be made to answer again for his ugly remarks in almost decade-old conversations, recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, while also contending with questions about his finances and relationship with Madigan. "Frankly, I've had enough of people like Donald Trump, politicians like Bruce Rauner who can never acknowledge a flaw, never offer an apology, and never take responsibility for anything or anyone under their care".
"We proved the grassroots can not be taken advantage of".
Even before Rauner's projected victory, the Republican Governors Association sought to cast Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel riches, as a "self-serving IL political insider" while poking at the Blagojevich tapes, obtained and published by the Chicago Tribune, which reveal Pritzker offering the former governor an unvarnished take on race relations and state politics.