Third-party 13th hopeful plans to fight
Josh Dill, the Danville native who is running a low-budget, third-party campaign in the 13th Congressional District, said last week that he isn't close to the 15,000 signatures on petitions that he would need to get on the ballot this fall.
But Dill, who now lives in Springfield and is the candidate of the newly formed Lincoln Liberty Party, says he and his supporters will turn in whatever number of petitions they have gathered on June 23, the last day for him to file with the State Board of Elections.
"We are still working on it, but we plan to turn in whatever we have regardless of what the number is, and if we get kicked off, we will probably challenge the constitutionality of the ruling," said Dill, 30. "It's something my staff and I have looked into and the independent and third party coalition I'm a part of have discussed at length as well."
If Dill's campaign turns in fewer than the required number of signatures, it won't be the board of elections that boots him off the ballot. The board would accept the petitions no matter what; it would be up to someone else to object to Dill's petitions.
It's likely, of course, that someone affiliated either with incumbent Republican Rep. Rodney Davis or Democratic challenger Ann Callis would object to Dill's candidacy.
Two years ago, Democrat David Gill insisted that he would have won the 13th District race over Davis if not for the presence of independent John Hartman, who got 21,319 votes, or 7.24 percent, in the three-way race.
At last count, Dill said, he had about 4,000 signatures.
"That was a little over a month ago. I am still waiting to hear back from some local union heads that are helping me, a few other petitioners and the (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) group that has petitioners out for me also," Dill said.
Incidentally, in a new post the Washington-based Cook Political Report still says the 13th District race between Davis and Callis "leans Republican."
You may recall two years ago that super PACs, otherwise known as "independent expenditure" groups, got heavily involved in the 13th District race between Davis and Democrat David Gill, pouring almost $6.9 million in uncoordinated expenditures into the race, mostly against Gill.
So far this year the groups have stayed out of the contest involving Davis and Callis. Instead, according to the group OpenSecrets.org, the superPACs are directing their money into Senate races.
"Reflecting the widespread assumption that the Senate is much more likely to change hands than the House, 63.1 percent of this cycle's reported outside spending has targeted the upper chamber," OpenSecrets.org reported last week.
Indeed, while no SuperPAC money has gone into the race in the 13th District — which includes Champaign-Urbana, Monticello, Decatur and areas to the southwest — it has gone into the U.S. Senate race where incumbent Dick Durbin is up against Republican challenger Jim Oberweis. Among the SuperPAC spending there are the anti-Durbin radio commercials run by the Iowa-based group Americas PAC.
Americas PAC already has spent more than $498,480 on radio spots against Durbin, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. Another group, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, has spent about $56,000 on direct mail, telemarketing and other expenses to oppose the Democratic incumbent.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner last week cracked the $20.5 million mark in fundraising since he reported his first campaign donation on March 5, 2013. In the same period Gov. Pat Quinn has collected $14 million.
The geography of Rauner's fundraising is something to behold. Eighty percent of the itemized money he has raised ($16.3 million) has come from within Illinois, most of it from the Chicago area. No. 1 is Winnetka, Rauner's hometown, which has provided $7.5 million. Most of that — $6.5 million — is from Rauner himself. Another $4.1 million is from Chicago addresses.
A surprising No. 1 among downstate communities is Effingham, from which Rauner has raised $59,950. Other top downstate sources for the Republican nominee: Springfield, $36,861; Rockford, $31,2568; Champaign, $22,400; and Decatur, $17,249.
Rauner has 27 donors of $250 of more in Champaign, just two in Urbana and none in Danville.
All but $3 million of the $14 million Quinn has raised has come from Illinois, and $6.5 million of that $11 million has come from Chicago addresses. He has raised more than $650,000 from Springfield addresses, most of them organizations and political action committees. Other downstate communities that have been generous to Quinn include: Belleville, $163,830; Peoria, $110,000 and Decatur, $24,500. Champaign ($5,249) and Urbana ($1,000) are far down the list.
State Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign, now a candidate for state treasurer, showed off a pretty good stump speech at last Sunday's spring dinner of the Champaign County Democratic Party.
Yes, he had a home-court advantage before a friendly crowd, but Frerichs' populist address got the crowd on its feet with a rousing finish.
"I went out to the Democratic convention in 2012. Jennifer Granholm (the former governor of Michigan) said it very well," he said. "To make it very clear to people, she said that when you get into your car and you want to go backward, what do you put your car in? You put it in R, like Republican. That will take you in reverse. But when you want to go forward, what do you put the car in? D, for Democrats."
The applause began to build.
"Just remind people that if you want to go forward, that if you want to continue to make the state greater, they've got to put it in D and make it go forward," he concluded.
The crowd roared.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.