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Jackson: IL Rep. Davis a ‘wild card’ as Jesse Sullivan joins governor’s race

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(WSIL) -- A Freeburg, Illinois native and newcomer to state politics is making a splash with a lot of cash.

Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan announced he would run for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor. Sullivan joins three other nominees hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker.

Even though some of his competitors have an advantage with their political experience, Sullivan may use his connections and capital to light his way towards the nomination, according to John Jackson of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

According to records from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Sullivan has raised more than $10 million. One donation was worth a million. Two donations were four and five million each.

By comparison, Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), former Sen. Paul Shimpf (R-Waterloo.) and Schaumburg businessman Gary Rabine have a combined $893,000 in available campaign funds as of June 30, according to the latest quarter reports. Gov. Pritzker has $32 million in his war chest.

But Jackson feels the frontrunner is U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL 13th Dist.) who hasn't announced his candidacy yet.

" I think [Davis] has... [the] political experience and party connections that would make him the automatic frontrunner if he were to announce," Jackson said.

Pritzker faces a primary challenge from Chicago nurse and U.S. Army veteran Beverly Miles who's seeking to become the state's first Black female governor. The primary election is scheduled for June.