Republican candidate for governor Richard Irvin has shifted $800,000 from his Ken Griffin-funded campaign to two members of his slate of GOP candidates a little more than one month before the June 28 primary.

Secretary of state candidate John Milhiser received $500,000 from the Irvin for Illinois Fund on Friday, while Steve Kim, a candidate for attorney general, got $300,000 from the Irvin fund, state campaign records show. Both men are part of a slate of Republicans seeking statewide offices put together by Irvin’s campaign and backed by Griffin, Illinois’ wealthiest individual and the billionaire founder and CEO of the Citadel hedge fund.

Griffin has already given Irvin, who is mayor of Aurora, $45 million to help Irvin secure the Republican nomination for governor and challenge Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November.

Irvin, during a campaign stop on Saturday, said more money would be coming for Milhiser, Kim and other members of the Griffin-backed slate.

“From the very beginning we said that our campaign is going to be about supporting not just myself and (running mate) Avery Bourne, and our slate of candidates,” Irvin said. “We’re going to be supporting candidates up and down the ballot, so this is the beginning of our show of support for folks to make sure we can get many Republicans across the finish line.”

Milhiser, a former federal and county prosecutor from Springfield, is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state. Democrat Jesse White has been secretary of state since 1999 but isn’t running for reelection. Milhiser is facing state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington in the GOP primary. On the Democratic side, former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, Chicago Ald. David Moore, 17th, and Sidney Moore of Homewood are vying for that party’s nomination.

Kim, an attorney from Deerfield, is vying for the GOP nomination for attorney general against attorney Tom DeVore of Sorento and David Shestokas of Orland Park. DeVore has filed numerous failed lawsuits opposing masking mandates but also filed the suit that led the Illinois Appellate Court in February to rule as moot Pritzker’s appeal of a lower court ruling that lifted his mandatory school masking policy.

Kim sought the attorney general’s office in 2010 but lost and four years later was Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s running mate when Rutherford ran for governor but lost the GOP nomination.

Whoever wins the GOP nomination for attorney general will take on first-term Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul of Chicago in the fall.

Irvin’s chief campaign benefactor is Griffin, who has been engaged in a feud for years with Pritzker, who himself is a billionaire. Irvin’s campaign previously gave $50,000 apiece to Milhiser and Kim.

Both candidates have done little to seek statewide name recognition, and the latest Irvin-Griffin money could allow them to begin some limited TV advertising.

“It’s a big state, so we need to really get my message out there about crime and corruption and fighting this crime issue that we have here,” Kim said at an early voting meet-and-greet campaign stop in west suburban Elmhurst on Saturday.

Irvin’s campaign previously gave $50,000 to Shannon Teresi of Crystal Lake, who is the slate’s candidate for comptroller to take on Democratic incumbent Susana Mendoza of Chicago. Neither Teresi nor Mendoza has any competition in their respective primaries. State Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon is the Irvin slate’s candidate for treasurer. By the end of March, he had nearly $450,000 in cash on hand, which was raised on his own. He will challenge Democratic incumbent Michael Frerichs of Champaign in the fall. Neither Demmer nor Frerichs has any competition in their respective primaries.

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jgorner@chicagotribune.com



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