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Illinois’ 2018 Gubernatorial Race Could Break Fundraising Records

While the campaign to be Illinois’ next governor could exceed $300 million, when down ballot races are factored in, more than $430 million could be spent in Illinois in 2018.

The 2017 special election season saw the most expensive House race in American history as spending in the the Georgia Sixth Congressional District race topped $40 million. But that may not come close to the possible $300 million that some are saying could be spent on the Illinois governor’s race.

The race will feature incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) possibly facing off against billionaire J.B. Pritzker, and Politico estimates that the race could cost as much as $300 million.

According to Politico, “several people close to Gov. Bruce Rauner said he was willing to withdraw as much as $150 to $200 million from his own personal fortune.”

This would make the Illinois governor’s race the most expensive in American history, surpassing the $280 million spent on California’s 2010 governor’s race that featured then-eBay executive Meg Whitman and then-former Gov. Jerry Brown.

Both sides in Illinois have already raised $90 million, and the general election is still 16 months away.

Rauner has already raised $70 million, with $50 million of that coming from his own personal wealth. The other $20 million came from Rauner’s good friend, billionaire Ken Griffin. Pritzker has raised just $14 million, while other Democrats vying for their party’s nomination have raised just over $3 million.

These massive donations are made possible by Illinois’ lax campaign finance laws, which allow a candidate to accept unlimited contribution to a “Political Party Committee during a General or Consolidated Election.”

Politico‘s estimate includes “expected spending from candidates, super PACs and outside groups.”

This $300 million figure does not include the money that will be spent on down ballot races in Illinois, which Politico experts could reach as $130 million.

If Americans thought that Georgia’s special election was expensive at $40 million, that’s nothing compared to the potential $430 million that will be spent in Illinois during the 2018 midterm election.