In Illinois politics, money talks

MONEY did not talk during the Democratic and Republican primary elections held in Illinois on March 20th—it screamed. The incumbent Republican governor, Bruce Rauner (pictured), who splashed out some $50m on his campaign, saw off a strong challenge from a right-winger, Jeanne Ives. He will face an even richer opponent in the general election in November, because J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who poured almost $70m into his own campaign, easily won the Democratic primary for governor. Wealthy candidates also prevailed in many of the primary races for Illinois’s 18 congressional seats and other positions, held on the same day.

High-level politics is increasingly a game for wealthy people. Roll Call, a political newspaper owned by The Economist Group, calculates that America’s senators and congressmen were worth $2.43bn when the 115th Congress began—20% more than the previous Congress. Ten house members and three senators are worth more than $43m each (many politicians are not required to state the value of their properties). Not all contribute to their own campaigns, though, and few are as spendthrift as would-be governors of Illinois. The race, which has already cost about $160m, could well become the…

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