INDIANAPOLIS — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is dropping a fraction of his multimillion-dollar fortune across the state line trying to keep a fellow Republican in place as Indiana’s chief executive.
The first-term governor gave $100,000 last week to Indiana Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb’s campaign to succeed Gov. Mike Pence.
The donation is among the largest Holcomb has taken in since July 26 when Hoosier Republicans selected Holcomb to replace Pence on the Nov. 8 ballot after GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump picked Pence as his running mate.
Holcomb spokesman Pete Seat, a Schererville native, said the former Indiana Republican Party chairman is “honored to have support from anyone and everyone who believes in responsible Republican leadership.”
“Eric and Gov. Rauner have known each other for years, going back to when Rauner was exploring a bid and sought out Gov. Mitch Daniels and Eric for advice,” Seat said.
Holcomb appears to be the first Indiana candidate for statewide office to receive a donation directly from Rauner.
Indiana campaign finance records indicate Rauner also gave $50,000 to a national Republican fund supporting Hoosier candidates in 2000 when Holcomb failed to win an Indiana House seat in his only other bid for elected office.
In Illinois, Rauner has financially commandeered the Republican Party, contributing more than $16 million this year, or 95 percent of all the money the party has raised, hoping to break firm Democratic control of the General Assembly.
Indiana Democratic Party spokesman Drew Anderson said he believes Rauner’s donation to Holcomb is more about Rauner’s 2018 re-election bid than any genuine interest in Indiana politics.
“Gov. Rauner wants to keep Indiana’s current leadership and failed economy in place — one that includes falling wages and discriminatory policies,” Anderson said. “Rauner wants a Holcomb administration so he can continue to make himself look better.”