Tom Kacich | Spending in 13th District race not at past levels

Tom Kacich | Spending in 13th District race not at past levels

There's a lot of interest and a lot of money invested so far in the 13th Congressional District race between incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis and Democratic challenger Betsy Londrigan, but spending may not reach the levels of past races.

The 13th District includes Champaign-Urbana and arcs to southwestern Illinois, including Decatur, Springfield, parts of Bloomington-Normal and Edwardsville and Colinsville.

As of June 30, Davis had raised $2.37 million while Londrigan had collected $1.29 million. That total of about $3.66 million ranks third among the 18 congressional races in Illinois this year, behind only the $6.4 million raised for the 6th District race between Republican Peter Roskam and Democratic challenger Sean Casten, and the $4.2 million in the 8th District contest between Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi and Republican challenger Jitendra Diganvker.

Both Davis and Londrigan have healthy sums of cash on hand to spend during the next four months of campaigning. Davis reported nearly $1.6 million in his treasury, more than he has ever had at this point in his election effort, exceeding the $1.3 million he had in 2014 against Edwardsville Democrat Ann Callis.

Compared to past Democratic opponents of Davis, Londrigan's $658,649 is greater than the $199,406 that David Gill had in 2012 and the $4,735 that Mark Wicklund had two years ago, but less than the $711,204 that Callis had in 2014.

Spending in the 13th District race this year — about $1.87 million so far — is going to have to accelerate greatly to reach the $5.3 million of that 2014 Davis-Callis race and the nearly $10 million spent in a three-way contest in 2012 that was aided by nearly $7 million in spending by independent groups not affiliated with the candidates.

Accelerate it might, though, given the strong showing Londrigan made in the second quarter. She outraised Davis by a thousand dollars in the April-June period, $507,295 to $506,232.

While most of Davis' money came from political action committees, including those who have interest in legislation before his House committees, most of Londrigan's second quarter funds — $425,000 of the $507,295 raised — came from individuals.

Among Londrigan's donors were entertainer Barbra Streisand, who frequently gives to Democratic candidates and contributed $1,000; Tim Disney, the great nephew of Walt Disney, also $1,000; Callis, $2,000; and Naomi Lynn, former chancellor of the University of Illinois-Springfield, who has given several contributions totalling about $1,500.

Londrigan's biggest donors are law firms, which have given her campaign almost $175,000, led by the St. Louis firm of Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, which specializes in mesothelioma cases. That firm has contributed $45,400.

Davis, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Transportation Committee, has received much of his PAC money from agricultural companies, airlines and transportation unions. His top donor is McDonald's Corp. and its employees, who have given $20,735. In second place is Bayer AG, the German company heavily invested in agricultural sciences. It recently purchased St. Louis-based Monsanto.

According to the website OpenSecrets.org, $1.65 million of the money Davis has raised is from political action committees, $582,489 is from contributions of more than $200 and $15,690 is from contributions of $200 or less.

Londrigan's donors are $144,013 from PACs, $904,198 from contributors of more than $200 and $227,883 from contributors of $200 or less.

Statewide races

There are two statewide races with candidates from Champaign-Urbana: the attorney general race between Urbana Republican Erika Harold and Democrat Kwame Raoul, and the state treasurer contest between incumbent Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs and Orland Park Republican Jim Dodge.

Raoul reported $783,513 in his campaign fund on June 30 to $232,449 for Harold.

Frerichs had $1.2 million in his treasury to just $15,353 for Dodge.

For some perspective, look at the big dog of all statewide races, the contest between wealthy Gov. Bruce Rauner and wealthier Democrat J.B. Pritzker. Rauner reported having $31.75 million to Pritzker's $18.36 million.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette columnist. His column appears on Sundays.

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