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Dems dominate fundraising… again

Monday, Jul 30, 2012

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The House and Senate Democratic leaders have once again dominated the quarterly fundraising race. The Democrats are currently sitting on almost three times the amount of cash as the Republicans.

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s three committees raised a combined $591,000 in the quarter that ended June 30th. Madigan had over $3.5 million cash on hand. Senate President John Cullerton’s two committees netted about $655,000 during the quarter. Cullerton finished with over $2.7 million in cash and investments.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ two committees raised $353,000 during the quarter. Cross ended the filing period with $789,000 on hand. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno raised just under $263,000 during the quarter, but had over $1.4 million on hand when the filing period on June 30th.

The disparities become even more problematic for the Republican leaders when you look at some of their hottest races. For instance, Downstate Senate candidate Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) raised an impressive $127K in the second quarter and ended the filing period with $340K. In contrast, Manar’s Republican opponent, Decatur Mayor Mike McElroy, raised just $26K and had less than $69K in the bank at the end of June.

Manar is John Cullerton’s former chief of staff, so he’d be expected to raise a lot of cash, but this is a must-win district for the Republicans and they needed a far better performance out of their candidate. They’re going to have to dip into the reserves in a big way to help out McElroy if he doesn’t kick himself into high gear.

Mike Babcock, a Republican running against Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton), raised a mere $6,263.25 and ended the filing period with less than $20K on hand. Haine, on the other hand, raised over $75K and had almost $430K in the bank. Babcock has since raised $5K from conservative businessman Richard Uihlein, who has helped bankroll former gubernatorial candidate and GOP operative Dan Proft’s various operations.

Uihlein contributed $72,500 to Republican candidates since the recently ended filing period began on April 1st. The Uihlein list reads like a “Who’s Who” of hot campaigns. Randy Frese, who’s up against Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), received $5,000 from Uihlein. Freeze raised an impressive $111K during the quarter, and had $127K in the bank. That almost matched Sen. Sullivan’s $131K raised in the latest filing period, but Sullivan had over $435K in the bank.

The House Republicans, meanwhile, have attempted to push their candidates to raise more money with a new “Young Guns” program modeled on the federal “Super PAC” affiliated with US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. And Uihlein played a role there, too.

According to the House Republicans, Congressman Aaron Schock approached Leader Cross last year about starting a similar program to the federal Young Guns effort. Cross agreed and candidates were given fundraising and voter contact goals for the second quarter to qualify for big bucks. Generally, the fundraising targets were $50,000.

Jonathan Greenberg, a Republican running against Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) raised about $51K during the quarterly reporting period. That qualifies him, and the other winners for a $100,000 contribution from the state’s Young Guns network, which will pool money from Schock, Cross, Congressman John Shimkus and individual House Republican members.

According to the House Republicans, about a half dozen candidates out of twelve met their Young Guns goals and will receive the $100K in matching funds. Neil Anderson is one of them. Anderson, like Greenberg, received a late $5K contribution from Uihlein. Anderson is up against Rep. Pat Verschoore (D-Milan). Uihlein’s money put Anderson over the $50K mark and qualified him for the Young Guns matching funds.

John Lawson also received a late $5K from Uihlein to get him into the Young Guns program. Lawson is up against Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), who raised a mere $1,795.31 in the quarter and had only $27K in the bank. Another late $5K Uihlein contribution went to Julie Bigham Eggers, who is running against Rep. Jerry Costello, II (D-Smithton).

One other campaign finance story. Even though State Rep. Mark Beaubien passed away last year, his campaign committee was still funding his widow’s independent House bid this spring. Dee Beaubien received over $15K from her late husband’s committee in April, when the account was finally closed out. This is not unusual. Rep. Bernie Pedersen died in 1996, but his campaign account wasn’t closed down until 2009.

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* Editorial: End the debate debate: “We felt that one debate was ample for the Quad-City area,” said Schilling spokesman Jon Schweppe. We can’t help but recall when supporters of challenger Bobby Schilling would have begged for such exposure in his bid to oust incumbent Rep. Phil Hare. What a difference incumbency makes. As for Ms. Bustos, we expected this former reporter and editor to see the value in more debates and quickly jump at both opportunities. But if her campaign intends to participate in only one, we wonder why she chose an event sponsored by the Iowa-based TV station and newspaper. There are no votes to be mined in Iowa for a candidate seeking to represent Illinois.

* Joe Walsh takes without asking

* Biggert says recovering Kirk calls his treadmill his ‘dreadmill’

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - reformer - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    To recap: Democrats have three times as much money. They have Obama 20 points ahead in this state. And they have the Madigan map. Add it all up and it could mean a debacle for the IL GOP in November.

  2. - Logical - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:28 am:

    Why is this surprising? The dems and Chicago run the state and people know how the game is played.

  3. - Shore - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    One of the keys to “young guns” was a fresh young generation of Republican leaders and ideas for the base to get excited about and candidates to point. Cross and Radogno are not those things.

    If Greenberg makes himself Mark Kirk in that district he could have a very strong chance.

  4. - East Sider - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    I think the Southern Illinois races will favor the GOP, even if they’re at a big fundraising disadvantage. Not a good time to be a democrat incumbent in Southern Illinois. No amount of money can cover up Bill Haine’s distasteful voting record and his sweetheart pension.

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Plummer is out of his mind.

    People rarely vote on “issues”. Independents vote largely on a gut check of who they think they can trust.

    Plummer comes across as a fella with something
    To hide.

  6. - Just sayin' - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 10:58 am:

    Obama ain’t up 20 points downstate where most of these hot races are. Just sayin’

  7. - East Sider - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    ==Plummer comes across as a fella with something
    To hide.==

    We’re talking about a district that voted for Jerry Costello for 24 years, despite him never releasing his tax returns and having known mob ties.

  8. - ZC - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 11:40 am:

    In Plummer’s defense - Lord I hate to type this - there are indeed plenty of US House members who don’t disclose. It’s not nearly a precedent as for presidential candidates. Not that it can’t be a factor if voters wish it to be, but Plummer’s decision is not without precedent. I’d vote against him more on the grounds that he appears to be an astonishingly vacant minded candidate with less policy knowledge, but a big ego, who feels his relative wealth and status alone qualifies him for a US House seat. But there again, he’s not without company.

  9. - Paul - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 11:53 am:

    It would appear to me that it is less important where the TV station happens to be, more important who can receive that station’s signal. KWQC’s broadcast antenna is in Orion, Illinois along with the towers of the Illinois stations WQAD and WHBF. That Iowa station reaches every viewer in Illinois that Illinois stations reach.

  10. - Lakewood-Balmoral - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 11:55 am:

    What races is everyone looking at in the House and Senate? Biggest upset? Who’s going to win big and who is going to go home a loser?

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 12:01 pm:

    East Sider,

    You mean alleged mob ties, right? If Plummer hangs his hat on blaming Costello’s alleged past, it won’t go well…this is Jason we are talking about, and he has proved to be less than savvy.

  12. - East Sider - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==You mean alleged mob ties, right?==

    No, I’m talking about the ties that came out in federal court in the racketeering trials of both Tom Venezia and Amiel Cueto. Costello was an “unnamed co-conspirator”.

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    Uihlein is still a big player in the Illinois GOP right wing.

    That’s interesting, considering he got $6 million from an old Dane County lefty, former Wisc. Gov. Jim Doyle, to move his corporate HQ from Waukegan north of the border to Pleasant Prairie.

    Six million can be such a comfort when the cognitive dissonance is so strong.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 12:10 pm:

    Unnamed…. Like Jasom’s jobs away from the ones from his Dad… Unnamed

  15. - DoubleDown - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    The dynamics between the rest of the country and Illinois. Nationally GOP is out fundraising Obama and the Dem party. In Illinois it is total the opposite

  16. - Paul - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    DoubleDown,what you wrote is not exactly true. the DCCC and the DSCC have out raised the NRCC abd the NRSC.

    Obama has out raised Romney.

    I will admit the DNC was out raised by the RNC. That does not support your contention that Republicans are out raising Democrats outside Illinois.

  17. - DoubleDown - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 1:32 pm:

    @Paul The official parties you are right, but I was in Michigan last weekend watching TV, Obama ads were 2 to 1 vs Romney.

    I guess in my perception I was including all the super pac money streaming in (Club For Growth, American Crossroads etc..)

  18. - DoubleDown - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 1:41 pm:

    I was surprised that Obama has to spend money to run ads in Michigan

    Obama’s Money Advantage Dwindling

  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 1:45 pm:

    People, we’re talking about Illinois here. Stick to the topic please.

  20. - Ralph - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 1:52 pm:

    Finally! Time to stamp out extremism once and for all in Illinois.

    The voters are *finally* catching on!

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 5:29 pm:

    I don’t think it matters how much Jason raises because he is still gonna be Jason, plus everybody knows he has all the money he needs. All he has to do do is spend it. Now dad has made better investments,but whatever

  22. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 30, 12 @ 8:18 pm:

    Wow Mr Speaker has more dough in his fund than the GARS has.

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 7:29 am:

    Dear East Sider:

    Costello served for eight years on the County Board before being elected to Congress.

    I have t-shirts older than Jason Plummer, yet he claims to have amassed $16 million in assets on a salary of just $55,000 a year, and has given how much to his campaign?

    Plummer is hiding something. If he wasn’t, he’d just release his tax returns and make this story all go away. Dragging Jerry Costello and Nancy Pelosi in to the debate want change that fact.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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