It's no secret that next year's race in the 13th Congressional District is going to be loud, long and expensive, but here's some context, courtesy of the people at OpenSecrets.org.
The current 13th District congressman, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, has raised more money in this term than all but 32 of the 419 members of Congress running for re-election next year.
Davis' fundraising, which OpenSecrets.org placed at $858,370, is the largest of any Illinois congressman, except for Aaron Schock's $1 million.
Davis has raised more than Reps. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, who is the No. 4 Republican in the House; former Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and better-known representatives such as Michele Bachmann, Joe Kennedy and James Clyburn.
His $858,370 is well above the average for all 223 Republicans running for re-election ($599,610) or the 196 Democrats running again ($426,720).
It's important to note that the numbers above are more than three months old, and they'll be updated with third-quarter totals (through Sept. 30) in about a week. It's a very good bet that Davis will have more than a million dollars on hand by then.
Davis represents a politically competitive district that Democrats nationally have targeted, plus he has a primary challenge from Urbana attorney Erika Harold.
In terms of cash on hand, Davis has $702,856, which puts him in 97th place.
OpenSecrets.org also reported that the average member of Congress running for re-election had raised $394,439, had spent $208,570, had $518,736 on hand and had received relatively equal amounts from political action committees ($182,492) and individuals ($180,781). Davis has received $612,726 from PACs, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Anti-Davis TV spots
Davis is being attacked in two separate spots running locally.
One, by a group called Americans United for Change, is a comparatively small buy that for now is running only four days, at least at WCIA-TV. The group purchased 11 spots there at a cost of $7,050. The ad attempts to tie Davis to the tea party, and asks viewers to call Davis' office and tell him to end the government shutdown.
The second ad, paid for by the House Majority PAC, a Democratic superPAC, shows a crying baby and accuses Davis of throwing tantrums over the shutdown.
It is a $28,040 buy at WCIA, including 58 spots, to run from Oct. 8 through Wednesday.
The spot will air tonight on "60 Minutes," at a cost of $1,500. Almost all the other times the spot airs are at much cheaper rates.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard paid his former girlfriend $3,200 out of his political campaign fund, a report to the State Board of Elections show.
Gerard made a $3,200 payment to Do Good Consulting in Urbana, owned by Laura Huth, on Sept. 19. That was the same day the two appeared in court to announce a financial settlement.
Huth had claimed that Gerard owed her $3,233 for consulting work she performed for him during his campaign for mayor in 2011.
The payment to Huth, as well as a $200 contribution Gerard made to Champaign Firefighters Local 1260 — the union that represents Champaign firefighters — brought his campaign fund down to $3,515.
Last week, Champaign City Council member Deborah Feinen, who already has said she is running for mayor in 2015, reported $7,601 on hand.
Al the Pal
Former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, a Democrat from Belleville, will be in Champaign on Friday to talk about his new book, "The Gentleman from Illinois."
The event, at 2 p.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center, is open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Dixon, 86, was a U.S. senator from 1981 to 1993. Before that he had been Illinois secretary of state, Illinois treasurer, a state senator and a state representative. He had had some role in Illinois government from 1951 to 1993.
After retiring from politics, he was a partner in the Bryan Cave LLP law firm in St. Louis until 2012, at which time he became a senior counsel.
GOP candidates meeting
Statewide Republican candidates Doug Truax and Paul Schimpf will meet with members of the Ford County Republican Central Committee at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Ne's Place restaurant in Piper City.
Truax is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Dick Durbin. The graduate of U.S. Army Ranger School lives in Downers Grove and is co-owner and managing partner of Oak Brook-based Veritas Risk Services LLC, a strategic risk consulting firm.
Schimpf, who hopes to run for attorney general against Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan, lives in Waterloo. He is an attorney who served in the military for 24 years.
New union head
Matt Langendorf, who for a brief time in 2010 was made famous statewide by Gov. Pat Quinn as "Matt the Welder," has become chairman of the East Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. He replaces Dan McCall.
Three years ago, Quinn, then running for his first term as governor, was promoted by Langendorf in TV commercials that played in downstate Illinois. The political action committee of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 149 in Savoy produced and paid for the pro-Quinn commercials.
The AFSCME Illinois Council 31 political action committee disclosed its third quarter campaign contributions last week — $65,300 to 37 different candidates.
At the top of the list with contributions of $10,000 each were Democratic state treasurer candidate Mike Frerichs of Champaign, now a state senator representing parts of Champaign and Vermilion counties, and state Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale.
Although the AFSCME PAC gave mostly to Democrats, Frerichs was the only statewide Democratic candidate to get money from the union in the last quarter.
State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka got $1,000 from the group.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford said last week that he backs the independent redistricting constitutional amendment that supporters hope to get on the November 2014 ballot.
They need to collect about 300,000 signatures on petitions in the next seven months, however.
"It is unimaginable in this day and age that some voters are seen as second-class citizens because a few individuals have had the muscle to shut them out," Rutherford said. "That is why I fully endorse Yes for Independent Maps."
The proposed constitutional amendment would take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and give the power back to a group of ordinary citizens.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Sundays and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.