Tom Kacich: Frerichs ahead of potential rivals in raising money

All his money doesn't make him invincible, but the $647,188 that state Sen. Mike Frerichs has available for a state treasurer race puts him in a better position than most other Democrats who have been looking at the job.

The Champaign Democrat's campaign fortune is significantly greater than that held by the two Democrats who already had indicated interest in the race: Michael Cabonargi of Chicago, a member of the Cook County Board of Review, and Jason Ervin, a Chicago alderman.

And Frerichs' fund also has more than those of two Democrats who had been mulling a run for attorney general — before Lisa Madigan's announcement Monday that she would run for a fourth term in that office.

Up to Monday, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon had been considered a likely candidate for attorney general, as had Kwame Raoul, a Senate colleague of Frerichs'. Now Simon and Raoul have to decide whether they want to run for treasurer, where the incumbent Dan Rutherford is running for governor, or state comptroller where incumbent Judy Baar Topinka is running for another term, or if they want to avoid a statewide race in 2014.

The number of potential opponents to Frerichs — who still has not formally announced that he is running for the office — may be thinning.

Frerichs said that Cabonargi, who has $400,897 in his campaign fund, emailed supporters last week to say that he isn't running for a statewide office.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Simon is looking at opposing Topinka.

And Frerichs said that Raoul told him he was interested only in attorney general.

"He told me that as an attorney the only office that held interest for him was attorney general," said Frerichs. "I don't think he runs against me, but I don't know for sure."

That leaves Ervin, whose most recent campaign disclosure report shows he had just $10,098 on hand, as well as $9,545 in campaign debt.

For his part, Frerichs said that Madigan's announcement would have no effect on his plans.

"Nothing changes," he said. "I haven't talked to anyone who is running for treasurer."

He said he hadn't decided when to make a formal campaign announcement but that "we're still doing due diligence. Things are looking good."

By a way of comparison, Frerichs' nearly $650,000 campaign fund is more flush than the $400,241 that Republican Rutherford had in his campaign account four years ago as he was beginning the race for treasurer.

It's also far more than any of the reported Republican candidates for treasurer next year have on hand. Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria has $138,294, while former DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom has $39,727 and DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan reported just $19,000.

By a more than 2-to-1 margin, contributions to Frerichs' campaign during the April 1-June 30 period primarily were from political action committees such as Senate President John Cullerton's Senate Democratic Victory Fund, $34,000; the Illinois Laborers' Legislative Committee, $15,000; the Illinois Education Association, $7,500; AFSCME, $5,000, Belleville Sen. James Clayborne's campaign fund, $5,000; and the Illinois State Medical Society and Illinois Manufacturers' Association, $2,000 each.

Frerichs got about $115,000 in PAC contributions to about $48,000 in individual contributions, of which $40,810 were itemized. He got about $8,900 from individuals in Champaign-Urbana, the largest being $2,500 from Richard Noel of Champaign.

Gubernatorial money numbers. Meanwhile, the six announced candidates for governor — four Republicans and two Democrats — reported widely disparate fundraising numbers in the second quarter.

Gov. Pat Quinn was the leader in the three-month period, attracting more than $1 million, including more than $640,000 in individual contributions.

Republican businessman Bruce Rauner was second, with $915,827, followed by Democrat William Daley ($796,471) and Republicans Dan Rutherford ($432,872), Kirk Dillard ($293,090) and Bill Brady ($61,000).

Quinn also had the largest amount of cash on hand on June 30 — $2.3 million.

An interesting geographical nugget regarding the governor's second quarter fundraising: of the $1 million he raised, at least $442,000 came from within the city of Chicago. But he got no itemized donations from Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal or Rockford. He received $49,550 from Springfield, most of it from PACs, $2,500 from Decatur, $499 from Moline, and $250 each from Danville, Peoria and Rock Island.

Events.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, has scheduled constituent meetings for Thursday in Urbana. The first will be a coffee shop stop from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Espresso Royale, 1117 W. Oregon St. The second will be an ice cream social with her husband, Urbana Alderman Eric Jakobsson, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton St., U. Jakobsson said she is prepared to give an update on legislative issues and to respond to questions.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, will hold satellite "office hours" from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 30, at the Saybrook Village Hall, 226 W. Lincoln St., Saybrook.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at tkacich@news-gazette.com.

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