Billionaire Ken Griffin pours $25M into push to defeat Democratic Illinois governor

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Billionaire Ken Griffin has more than doubled his investment in the GOP candidate for governor of Illinois with a $25 million donation in an effort to boot Democratic incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker, according to reports this week.

Griffin, a Chicago billionaire who runs hedge fund giant Citadel and owns the enormous market-making firm Citadel Securities, vowed to go "all in" to make sure Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is defeated. 

BILLIONAIRE CITADEL FOUNDER KEN GRIFFIN SAYS HE'LL GO 'ALL-IN' TO DEFEAT DEM ILLINOIS GOV. PRITZKER

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills May 1, 2017.  (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson  / Reuters Photos)

Finance records showed Thursday that Griffin provided Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin with $25 million in campaign funds after initially providing $20 million in seed money, the Chicago Tribune first reported.

Irvin has been gearing up for the seat by focusing on TV ads and campaign pamphlets, though the local news outlet noted he has yet to hit the public arena in a big way. 

Griffin, the state’s wealthiest person, vowed to take on the Democratic governor following a two-year global pandemic that left many frustrated over mandate policies coupled with a rise in violent crime.

"I’m going to make sure that if he runs again, that I am all-in to support the candidate who will beat him," Griffin said during a November 2021 event. "He doesn’t deserve to be the governor of our state."

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker smiles after winning the Democratic primary over a field of five others March 20, 2018, in Chicago.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Newsroom)

Irvin could face a tough election as he prepares to take on the incumbent Democrat in a state that has trended blue in every presidential election since 1992.

Pritzker won the governor's seat in 2018 and pushed out incumbent GOP governor Bruce Rauner, who served one term before being defeated.

Pritzker secured the 2018 election with nearly 714,000 more votes than Rauner, a 15.7% margin of victory.

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But the backing of Griffin, who is estimated to be worth $21 billion, according to Forbes, might not be enough to overtake the Democratic governor, who is no stranger to dropping large sums on his own campaign. 

Pritzker, who Forbes listed as being worth $3.6 billion, spent $171 million of his own funds during his first campaign and has already contributed $125 million on his run for a second term.

Paul Conner contributed to this report.

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