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Dissatisfied with Current Field, Billionaire Ken Griffin Threatens to Implode GOP Primary for Governor

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The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that allies of billionaire Ken Griffin are pushing the Illinois Republican Party to back unannounced potential candidate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in the messy GOP gubernatorial primary, “opening the door to further divisions within the state GOP.”

Griffin is desperate to recreate the failed governorship of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who he financed with over $30 million as Rauner destroyed the state budget, cut spending for public programs, and drove Illinois’ economy into a ditch.

The new report is bad news for current candidates Gary Rabine, Jesse Sullivan, Darren Bailey, and Paul Schimpf. According to the Tribune, Griffin has vowed to go “all in” on the race “but has not been satisfied with the four announced contenders.”

The divided Illinois GOP is bound for even more infighting once Griffin gets involved. A prominent Republican who asked not to be identified by the Tribune said, “These Griffin people behind the curtain, we don’t know. Is it like the Wizard of Oz?” He added that the existing candidates won’t drop out of the race, setting them on a collision course with Griffin and his money.

Griffin’s dissatisfaction with the current slate echoes former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, who warned earlier this month that the current candidates are too far-right to win against Gov. JB Pritzker in the general election.

“The Illinois GOP primary for governor is set to implode as the far-right candidates duke it out for the support of a deeply divided party,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “Top Republicans are publicly slamming the current candidates as unelectable, and once wealthy GOP insider Ken Griffin gets involved, the race will be too expensive, too chaotic, and too bruising to produce a strong nominee to go against Gov. JB Pritzker.”