Tom Kacich: Madigan camp in contact with Ammons
After giving thousands of dollars to her opponent in the Democratic primary last month, there's a sign that House Speaker Michael Madigan's team is trying to make nice with Carol Ammons, the party's candidate in the 103rd House District that includes Champaign-Urbana.
Madigan's Democratic Majority organization and his Friends of Michael J. Madigan committee gave almost $70,000 in in-kind support to Ammons' opponent, Sam Rosenberg, in the primary campaign. Further, three members of Madigan's leadership team — Reps. Frank Mautino, John Bradley and Elaine Nekritz — gave a total of $7,000 to Rosenberg's campaign, and Democratic Reps. Brandon Phelps and Thaddeus Jones chipped in another $19,500.
But Rosenberg lost, and earlier this month Ammons received a $1,000 contribution from the campaign fund of state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who also is a House deputy majority leader.
"I talked to (Lang) after the primary and he wished me well and said he'd be willing to support my candidacy in the fall," Ammons said.
She also said she had spoken briefly with Madigan aides but not with the speaker himself.
"Recently I did speak to a couple people on his staff and they were just interested in what my plans for the campaign were in the future," she said.
Those plans, Ammons said, include retaining the same grassroots team that helped her defeat Rosenberg.
"We have what I consider a real dream team and for November we're going to use our successful primary election strategy, as a grassroots organizing campaign, and just multiply that by 10," she said. "Voter registration has always been key for us and it will still be key. At this point, my top priority will be fundraising so that I'm prepared to run an efficient campaign in November."
Campaign disclosure reports show that Rosenberg spent $129,446 in his four-month-long campaign, while Ammons spent $47,065 during approximately the same period.
Official election results
The State Board of Elections last week certified the results of the March 18 primary election, and made official Pat Quinn's and Bruce Rauner's wins in the gubernatorial race.
Quinn got 71.94 percent to Tio Hardiman's 28.06 percent. The virtually unknown Hardiman won 30 of Illinois' 102 counties, including Edgar, Moultrie and Vermilion in East Central Illinois.
In the Republican primary, Rauner was the winner with 40.13 percent of the vote to 37.22 percent for Kirk Dillard, 15.09 percent for Bill Brady and 7.56 percent for Dan Rutherford.
But Dillard won the majority of counties — 60 — including Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion. Brady won four counties, Rutherford three.
In the other big race of local interest — the 13th Congressional District — Democratic nominee Ann Callis narrowly defeated Republican winner Rodney Davis on a percentage basis. Callis got 54.65 percent in the three-way Democratic primary and Davis picked up 54.63 percent in the three-way Republican primary.
But, in perhaps an ominous sign for the Democratic nominee this fall, Davis got 27,816 votes in the GOP primary while Callis got only 17,322 in the Democratic race. The total Republican primary vote in the congressional district was 50,914 while the Democratic vote amounted to 27,695.
In fact, the second-place finisher in the Republican race, Urbana attorney Erika Harold, got more votes than Callis, 20,951 to 17,322.
The Democratic turnout, both in the 13th District and statewide, was tamped down by the lack of any competitive statewide primary contest, although Hardiman's showing was a lot more competitive than almost anyone expected.
In the 13th District, 64.76 percent of all votes cast on March 18 were in the Republican primary; statewide, 64.69 of the ballots cast were Republican.
More on costs per vote
Bob Grogan, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for state treasurer in last month's primary election, saw Sunday's column in which I calculated the amount that each candidate spent for each vote received. He said he spent a frugal 22 cents per vote, which would have been even less than Hardiman's 34 cents per vote.
Indeed, when I ran the numbers — $67,111 spent by Grogan's campaign since Jan. 1, 2013, divided by 295,682 votes — I came up with 22.69 cents for each vote he got.
The other candidates for state treasurer spent significantly more. Grogan's Republican opponent, Tom Cross, has two campaign accounts so when you combine them, his per vote figure is $2.92 per vote. If you count just his state treasurer campaign account, it comes to $1.32 per vote.
Democrat Mike Frerichs of Champaign has spent $377,961 since Jan. 1, 2013. He was unopposed in the primary and got 385,585 votes for a cost per vote of 98 cents.
Incidentally, Frerichs ended the first quarter of fundraising with $1.082 million to Cross' $242,000.
Urbana's Jerry Clarke, former aide to U.S. Reps. Tim Johnson and Randy Hultgren, no longer will be serving on the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.
Sangamon County's Fred Floreth unseated Clarke in voting at county party conventions last week. Neither the vote count nor the counties carried by Floreth or Clarke were being disclosed by the state party. It is known, though, that both Clarke and Floreth carried their home counties.
Until last week, Clarke had been on the state central committee as a representative of the old 15th Congressional District.
Ford County GOP
Tom Bennett of Gibson City was reelected chairman of the Ford County Republican Party, along with Tim Nuss as vice chair, Denis Fisher as secretary, Rob Pacey as treasurer and Steve Pacey, Jon Clark and Phil Peterson as district chairs.
Bennett also is a trustee on the Parkland College board.
Also, retired Ford County Circuit Judge Steve Pacey will speak to the Ford County Republican Central Committee at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at Tom's Tavern in Kempton. Pacey will speak about his 17 years as a circuit judge, The breakfast event is open to the public.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 217-351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.