08/13/2014 03:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are Bruce Rauner's Political Donations an Attempt to Buy Republican Support?

Illinois Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has worn his political-newcomer badge with pride, saying it makes him the right person to bring change to Springfield and that Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been in government too long. Rauner didn't even donate much (relatively) to other campaigns from 1998 to 2011. The Better Government Association's Patrick McCraney points out that his donations to campaigns other than his own have more than doubled since 2011. Is Rauner trying to "buy" Republican support by giving money to organizations and campaigns he hopes will back his campaign?

McCraney also points out that Rauner's donations to Democrats (most notably, former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley) stopped in 2006, and that since the beginning of 2013, he has donated 119 times to 75 Republican organizations. Brian Krajewski, head of the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization, which received funds from Rauner, said sometimes candidates don't donate on a quid pro quo basis but sometimes do it in a general effort to gain support.

Rauner's campaign spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, said such donations were not an effort to buy support.

"[R]egardless of what happens in the governor's race, [Rauner] is committed to rebuilding the Republican Party. That includes helping not just the state and national party, but local" Republicans, Schrimpf wrote in an email.

With donations flying and the gubernatorial campaign heating up, Quinn has criticized Rauner for avoiding face-to-face debates. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Quinn told Rauner to "come out of the gopher hole" and sign onto the same schedule of debates to which Quinn has committed. But Quinn is also missing out on some discussion opportunities--he skipped the traditional Democratic rally during the Illinois State Fair's Governor's Day.