Illinois millionaires make six-figure donations to Eric Holcomb and John Gregg's campaigns

Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 21:01:19-04

Setting aside the two state's longtime rivalry over jobs, wealthy Illini have made six-figure donations on both sides of Indiana's governor's race.

Last April, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, told the Chicago Tribune he wanted to "rip the economic guts out of Indiana" following the Hoosier state's passage of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was spearheaded by Gov. Mike Pence.

But now Rauner has jumped into the fray to help get Pence's chosen successor elected – making a $100,000 contribution last week to Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb's election campaign.

Holcomb, who has worked for former Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sen. Dan Coats and now under Pence – though never been elected to office himself – has largely hitched his campaign to running on Pence's record.

Rauner's check is one of the largest individual donations to Holcomb's campaign – although his late start to the race and significant funding deficit compared to Democrat John Gregg was allayed in no small part due to a $1.2 million donation by the Republican Governor's Association's Right Directions PAC, whose major donor is Koch Industries. Koch Industries, owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has also been one of Pence's largest longtime supporters.

On the Democratic side, Gregg's campaign received an early donation in February of $200,000 from Newsweb Corporation Chairman Fred Eychaner, a Chicago resident and prolific donor to the Democratic Party.

Gregg has also received $250,000 and $300,000 contributions from the Democratic Governors Association – whose largest donor is Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is also the second-largest donor to the Republican Governors Association, giving approximately $1.5 million to both parties' governors associations this year.