SPRINGFIELD - The primary election is just a few months away, but it's still not clear which GOP candidates for Governor could have the inside track.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has the most money in his coffers out of the republicans. But, experts say that doesn't mean he's the front runner.
Rutherford though trails Gov. Pat Quinn in campaign funds. Quinn has $2.9 million, while Rutherford has $1.2 million. "Governor Quinn is in a very favorable position that of the three kind of established candidates; Rutherford, Brady, and Dillard, that Rutherford is clearly the best position in terms of raising money and having money on hand" says Professor Kent Redfield of the UIS political Science Dept.
This will be the first election gubernatorial candidates will run under new changes to contribution limits. "You're getting more disclosure" says Rupert Borgsmiller of the State Board of Elections. "You're getting more transparency in the elections themselves, but it's you know - it is or it could have an impact as to how much money is actually spent in the campaigns themselves."
Although political experts have a better eye on fundraising, they say there's still many unknowns. "Bruce Rauner is really the wild card" says Redfield. "Not only has he shown an ability to raise a lot of money, but he's in a position where he can self-fund."
And self-fund he has so far. Rauner has dropped $249,000 into his fund. If he adds another $1,000, that'll raise contribution limits for everyone. But, even then the potential additional dollars might not be enough.
"You really have to point at Quinn being the one that's the most advantaged because he doesn't have an opponent and then Rutherford and Rauner seem to have the momentum as we go into the primary season."
Redfield says Gov. Quinn and Rutherford are the best positioned. The primary election takes place March 18.