* As I told you yesterday, Martin Ozinga put up some pretty impressive 2nd Quarter fundraising numbers…
Republican Martin Ozinga III said Tuesday he has raised about $800,000 since jumping into the 11th Congressional District race in April.
That early fundraising is helping him close the money gap with more established Democratic foe state Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D- Crete), who has been running since October. She has raised $1.27 million, including $400,000 from April through June, campaign spokesman Brian Doory said.
Halvorson still is expected to have more money on hand when both campaigns file required paperwork with the Federal Election Commission by Tuesday. Her campaign estimated it had $900,000 left as of June 30, while Ozinga’s campaign put its total at around $650,000.
* The Politico takes a look at the race…
Ozinga has proved to be a more nimble candidate than expected. He joined the race as something of an accidental candidate after the initial GOP nominee, Tim Baldermann, abruptly dropped out of the race in February. Ozinga emerged as the consensus choice to replace Baldermann on the ballot only after several other local elected officials declined to run, a delay that appeared to give Democrats the upper hand as the GOP scrambled to find a replacement.
Once he officially became the nominee, Ozinga relentlessly attacked Halvorson over her ties to Blagojevich and immediately proved his fundraising chops. Though he has the ability to self-fund, he raised $800,000 from individual donors over the past three months and is poised to outraise Halvorson in the most recent fundraising quarter — no small feat because Halvorson, who reported more than $678,000 cash on hand at the end of March, has been one of the top Democratic fundraisers.
By all measures, the race should be competitive. The exurban Chicago district, with its sizable blue-collar constituency, agricultural base and culturally conservative leanings, has been favorable to Republican candidates — it voted for Judy Baar Topinka, the hapless GOP gubernatorial nominee, in 2006 and gave President Bush 53 percent of the vote in 2004.
Halvorson’s biggest challenge is to persuade voters that she matches the culturally conservative sentiment in the district. Her endorsement by EMILY’s List, which supports abortion rights, could hamper her efforts on that front.
But she also has received perfect ratings from the local branch of the National Rifle Association, an important asset in the exurban and small-town 11th District.
* And the charges and counter-charges were flying yesterday…
The push to develop a Veterans’ Administration hospital in Joliet may be years away, but the movement received a huge boost Wednesday when a leading lawmaker joined the campaign.
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, entered the effort during a press conference in Joliet’s American Legion Harwood Post 5 [with Halvorson] where he vowed to push Congress to see the facility created at what will be the former Silver Cross Hospital in either late 2011 or early 2012. […]
“This is the same Debbie Halvorson who took to the Senate floor months ago to claim that veteran home funding wasn’t a top priority. … Debbie Halvorson should apologize to veterans for pretending to be their advocate after years of shortchanging them,” Ozinga’s campaign said.
Halvorson said she was offended that this push for veterans’ care is called a political stunt. “This is about veterans, about my stepson. This is not about the campaign.”
*** UPDATE *** From a press release…
11th Congressional District candidate Marty Ozinga released the first television spot of the campaign on Wednesday.
The ad will begin running this week on cable stations throughout Will, Kankakee, Grundy and LaSalle counties, which together comprise about 85% of the 11th District vote.
Click here to view the spot on our YouTube page…
The transcript is below:
My name is Marty Ozinga, and I’m running for Congress.
I grew up observing my dad, his enthusiasm for work and for serving in the community…
Having a job and working was a real privilege…
I enjoyed it, and it was always very exciting to me…
I like to work, I still do.
I’m no politician, but I know if we work together, we can solve our nation’s problems.
There’s a lot of change needed in Congress…
I believe that I’m a person that can go there to make those changes.
I’m Marty Ozinga, and I approved this message.