Barack Obama not only won the presidential vote in Champaign-Urbana last year, he won the money race too, according to the website OpenSecrets.org.
Obama won the popular vote in Champaign-Urbana with 67 percent. He had a similarly decisive fundraising victory over Romney in the Champaign-Urbana area, collecting $368,439 to Romney's $200,540.
Champaign-Urbana and Chicago were the only metropolitan areas in the state where Obama raised more than Romney in the 2012 election cycle. In the Chicago area, Obama raised $16.3 million to Romney's $10.2 million.
In Bloomington-Normal, Romney outraised Obama $131,035 to $101,498; in Decatur, Romney had $117,645 to Obama's $26,684; in the Peoria-Pekin area, it was Romney over Obama $457,201 to $139,093; and in Springfield, it was Romney $237,983 and Obama $171,706.
Romney also won the money race in the Danville, Rockford, Kankakee and Quad Cities areas.
But statewide, Obama collected $17.8 million and Romney got $12.9 million.
It was at least the third consecutive presidential election where the Democratic presidential candidate received more money in Champaign-Urbana than the GOP contender, cementing the community's reputation as the most Democratic area in downstate Illinois, an honor that in past decades went to areas like Decatur and the Metro East area of St. Louis.
In 2008, Obama outraised Sen. John McCain here by almost 5-to-1, collecting $347,158 to $70,430. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry raised $128,292 to President George W. Bush's $71,395. As was the case last year, in 2004 Champaign-Urbana and Chicago were the only metropolitan areas in the state where the Democratic candidate outraised his Republican opponent. In that year, however, Bush outraised Kerry statewide, $6.8 million to $6.57 million.
Overall, of the $2.2 million donated to various federal candidates and political action committees from Champaign County in the 2012 election cycle, $812,836, or 40 percent, went to Democrats or Democratic groups while $714,487 went to Republicans or Republican groups, according to OpenSecrets.org.
The Liautaud family of Champaign, headed by James Liautaud, CEO of Jimmy John's LLC, did its best to keep the Champaign County ratio close. James and Leslie Liautaud, along with Spencer Liautaud, who is described in disclosure reports as a student, contributed about $700,000 to various Republicans and Republican groups, including a $500,000 donation to the group Restore Our Future. OpenSecrets.org describes that organization as a super PAC backing Romney's presidential campaign.
The only other area county to favor Democrats in fundraising totals in the 2011-2012 election cycle was Coles — home of Eastern Illinois University — where Democrats and Democratic groups had a $34,076 to $28,796 advantage.
More typical was dark red Iroquois County where Republicans enjoyed a $36,642 to $5,700 advantage. All but 16 of Illinois' 102 counties gave more money to Republicans and Republicans groups last year than Democrats.
Based on the amounts of federal campaign contributions in the last election cycle, the most active area ZIP code was Champaign's 61820, followed by Urbana's 61801. Both gave far more than the average ZIP code of $84,666.
Rauner money. Republican Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial exploratory committee was formed March 5, and as of Thursday, it already had raised at least $526,000.
Most of the money came from Illinois donors, but $35,000 came from contributors outside of the state. Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist from Winnetka, so far has received no money from downstate Illinois.
At this stage in the campaign disclosure process, only contributions of $1,000 or more have to be reported to the Illinois State Board of Elections, so it's possible that he has raised more than the $526,000 so far disclosed.
Frerichs fundraising. Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, said in early February that he was looking into running for statewide office. He didn't mention any particular office, but state treasurer appears to make the most sense for the former Champaign County auditor.
Meanwhile, his fundraising too has picked up in recent weeks — although it isn't Rauner-like. Frerichs' campaign fund has reported bringing in at least $52,500 since Feb. 13.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Sunday and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.