David Greising: Democratic Spending on GOP Primaries Has Come to Illinois

In the 2022 primary on Tuesday, three contests will serve up intriguing insights on the state of democracy in the Prairie State. Two provide fresh twists on the ever-present topic of money in politics, and a third will give us the latest litmus test for former President Donald Trump’s ability to influence elections.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a transgender support rally at Federal Building Plaza on April 27, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Pritzker, a Democrat, is up for reelection in November. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

In the 2022 primary on Tuesday, three contests will serve up intriguing insights on the state of democracy in the Prairie State. Two provide fresh twists on the ever-present topic of money in politics, and a third will give us the latest litmus test for former President Donald Trump’s ability to influence elections.

To an unusual degree, Democrats nationally this year are taking the risky step of spending money in Republican primary races trying to push Republicans they think they can beat in the fall. It’s also happening in Illinois.

And it’s taking place in the most high-profile race, the so-called battle of the billionaires between two of the state’s wealthiest people. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Citadel founder Ken Griffin, a Republican, are squaring off over control of the Governor’s Mansion.

Pritzker is injecting himself directly into the Republican primary, apparently in an effort to thwart the chances of Griffin’s candidate, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, to take him on in November. Together with the Democratic Governors Association, they’re reportedly spending upward of $30 million on the Republican primary in hopes that conservative state Sen. Darren Bailey will be Pritzker’s opponent in November.

Read more at the chicagotribune.com.