Ken Griffin, the state’s wealthiest person and prime mover behind Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s biggest policy defeat to date, has made his decision: He will back Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s bid to defeat Pritzker’s re-election, beginning with a $20 million campaign contribution Monday.

Griffin’s move firmly establishes Irvin as the fundraising frontrunner in a crowded Republican primary field. It also renews a political rivalry between Pritzker and Griffin that some have called “The Battle of the Billionaires.”

“I’m going to get behind Richard Irvin, the mayor of Aurora. He’s an incredible leader, has a strong track record as mayor of Aurora, and really epitomizes the American dream. I believe he has the talent, the drive and the caring that we need to turn Illinois around,” Griffin said in an interview.

In selecting Irvin, Griffin first interviewed what he described as “a handful” of Republican candidates for governor. He said there was no polling data to speak of, since as a group they have little name recognition. Background research was done.

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David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...