Kacich: Kirk lagging behind in fundraising locally

Kacich: Kirk lagging behind in fundraising locally

There's not a lot of local enthusiasm for the incumbent U.S. senator from Illinois in the place of his birth.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, born in Champaign but now a resident of Highland Park, has raised just $4,179 locally in this two-year cycle, according to the website opensecrets.org.

Locally he trails badly his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, by a margin of more than 4-to-1.

The Republican's best ZIP Code is 61822 (Champaign), where he has collected $1,684.

He's doing particularly poorly in Urbana's three ZIP Codes, having raised just $475.

Duckworth has raised $18,263 in the eight Champaign-Urbana ZIP Codes, and her best is Urbana's 61801, where her campaign fund has yielded $8,299.

Kirk does better in the two Danville ZIP Codes, but not by a lot. He's raised $310 there while Duckworth has come up empty.

Overall, according to the Federal Election Commission, Duckworth's campaign fund has $10.1 million in this election cycle to $6.78 million for Kirk.

But another $2.5 million has been spent in the Senate race by independent groups, such as the anti-Duckworth group Independent Voice for Illinois PAC, which has spent more than $1 million on TV ads blistering the Democrat for support of Syrian refugees and her vote for last year's Iran nuclear weapons deal.

Gill campaign suspended

David Gill's on-again, off-again independent congressional campaign is off again. And even if he gets the all-clear again from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, he's at such a disadvantage that it's hard to believe he'd be able to run much of a campaign in the remaining seven weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

After receiving a favorable ruling last month from U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough, a three-judge panel from the Seventh Circuit essentially overturned her ruling on Sept. 9. Gill's attorneys moved Sept. 12 for an expedited en banc hearing (by all of the judges of the circuit) but so far there's been no response.

"I have no idea what the court of appeals will do," said Sam Cahnman, one of Gill's attorneys. "But if we don't hear something soon we may turn to (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Elena Kagan."

Gill, a former Democratic candidate for Congress in the 13th District, spent much of his spring collecting petition signatures to get on the ballot.

For now, said Gill campaign manager Don Necessary, the campaign is on hold.

"We're waiting to hear a response but time is running out," he said, noting that local county clerks have to mail absentee ballots to uniformed and overseas voters next Friday. "We've had to suspend fundraising and all of hat.

"We're just basically tending to business and trying to be prepared the moment we get a favorable ruling, to get right back on it. But we've had to suspend any appointments or appearances and we're holding off on candidate questionnaires."

That includes the Oct. 7 candidate forum at the Champaign City Building that originally was to include Gill and Democrat Mark Wicklund of Decatur (incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, never committed to appearing). That forum won't be held unless at least two of the three candidates commit.

County referenda forum

The League of Women Voters of Champaign County will host a forum tomorrow night at the Urbana Free Library on three separate county-related issues on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The forum, from 7 to 9 p.m., will be in the Lewis Auditorium of the library. The event is open to the public.

The first half of the forum will be devoted to two separate leadership issues on the ballot: a proposal from the county Farm Bureau and chamber of commerce to elect a partisan county executive who would have broad powers, including developing the county budget and a veto over county board action, and a second proposal to have the county board chair elected countywide.

The second half of the forum will take up the proposal to levy a quarter-cent sales tax for county facilities improvements, including improvements to the satellite jail, the county nursing home and other buildings.

Illinois Senate Republicans shakeup

Congratulations to area state Sens. Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Jason Barickman of Bloomington for moving up in the Senate Republican leadership.

With the departure earlier this month of Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine (who resigned to become a lobbyist), Rose has become an assistant Republican leader, a step up from Republican whip. And Barickman replaces Rose as the whip.

Along with Sen. Dale Righter of Mattoon — who got crossways with Senate Minority Leader Christina Radogno of Lemont after challenging her last year, but is still a floor leader without a title and Sen. Bill Brady (another assistant leader) — central Illinois Republicans hold about half of the eight major positions in the 19-member GOP caucus.

Rose said he thinks his title change will mean more work on the state budget and probably more floor speeches.

"Murphy and I and Sen. Pam Althoff did a lot of the budget work so I suspect I'll have to step that up," he said. "I was already going to most of the budget meetings.

"As for floor debate, I probably was number 3 or 4 in that regard (Murphy was a clear number one) and I'll probably be doing more of that."

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

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787 wrote on September 18, 2016 at 11:09 am

Kirk needs a (D) behind his name.   That's part of his problem with fundraising, right there.

How many Republicans are going to throw money at a race that features an incumbent, who is a RINO... against a democrat?