U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, facing a tough re-election campaign in 2020, upped his fundraising efforts in the most recent quarter and outraised Democrat Betsy Londrigan by almost $170,000.
Davis, a Republican from Taylorville whose 13th Congressional District includes most of Champaign-Urbana, raised $527,000 to Londrigan’s $357,000 in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Davis reported having more than $905,000 on hand to nearly $722,000 for Londrigan.
Both candidates had more money in their accounts at this point two years ago. But Londrigan was amid a five-way primary election campaign at that time and Davis spent down most of his big balance in defeating Londrigan in the 2018 general election.
This year, only Londrigan and Davis have filed with the Federal Election Commission as candidates in Illinois 13.
Londrigan raised almost twice as much money from individual donors ($304,134 to $175,869) as Davis did.
She and other Democratic candidates continue to benefit from the fundraising reach of online fundraising platforms like ActBlue. The organization says it pulled in nearly $300 million in mostly small-dollar contributions for Democratic candidates in the recent quarter.
Londrigan collected $180,668 though ActBlue in the three-month period.
Davis got $21,279 from a similar Republican fundraising platform called WinRed, which launched this summer.
Among the individual donors to Londrigan are Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, $1,000; former Secretary of Commerce and sister of the governor of Illinois Penny Pritzker, $5,600; state Sen. Heather Steans, $2,500; former Illinois House Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, $500; and Loretta Durbin, wife of Sen. Dick Durbin, $700.
Among local donors to Londrigan are Champaign County Treasurer Laurel Prussing, $500; former Urbana City Council member Esther Patt, $1,100; former county board chair Barbara Wysocki, $750; and 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics honoree Anthony Leggett, $1,000.
Among the individual donors to Davis are Ron Chez, who helped fund the University of Illinois center for wounded veterans, $2,000; Davis’ father, McDonald’s franchisee Martin Davis, $1,955; University of Illinois trustee Edward McMillan, $1,000; former Illinois Republican Party chair Pat Brady of St. Charles, $1,000; and former Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, $300.
Among local donors to Davis are HL Precision Manufacturing owner Steve Hillard, $4,000; Champaign developer Newt Dodds, $2,000; Monticello attorney and Parkland College board member Jim Ayers, $1,540; Christie Clinic physician and UI board member Stuart King, $1,500; and Urbana restaurateur Mike Madigan, $1,000.
The biggest difference in fundraising between Davis and Londrigan is in money accepted from political action committees. Londrigan, who has pledged to limit her donations from PACs to only those from members of Congress or from non-corporate special interests, got $52,976 in PAC money in the period. Davis, operating on no such restrictions, got more than $351,000.
Londrigan’s PAC supporters include: $10,000 from PAC to the Future, which is headed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; $7,250 from Women’s Wave Illinois 2020; $7,500 from End Citizens United; $8,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; $6,000 from the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association; and $5,000 from the Machinists union.
Davis’ PAC supporters include: $12,500 from the American Waterways Operators, which represents the barge industry; $10,000 each from Home Depot, the McDonalds corporate PAC and the political fund of retiring U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville; $7,500 from Abbott Labs; $6,500 from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; and $6,000 each from the Investment Company Institute, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the Independent Insurance Agents, and the Action Committee for Rural Electrification.
Architect of Illinois Capitol
Andrea Aggertt, a Newton native and a recipient in 2005 of a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named the architect of the Illinois State Capitol.
She’s the third person to hold the position, whose office oversees all of the work and planning at the Capitol complex in Springfield.
Aggertt has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
“I was at the U of I from 2003 to 2005,” she said. “One cool thing is that I was actually selected to be the commencement speaker in 2005. The dean of the college was Mike Andrejasich (now an emeritus faculty at the UI) and he put out a notice that he was accepting applications to be the speaker and he needed a draft of what we would talk about. So I was selected and my speech was about how life is like building a building.
“I talked about how the foundation is your roots, the parents who raise you and the core values they give you. And the walls of that building are your upbringing and the experiences that you have, whether it’s in sports or volunteering or the friends you make in junior high or high school. And then putting the roof on the top of that building is your college degree. You’ve built that building and now it’s up to you, as a college graduate, to do what you want with that building.”
For the last 15 years, Aggertt has been a project architect at Shive-Hattery in Bloomington, she said.
“I’m learning the ropes,” she said, “but I think some really, really cool things will be happening at the Capitol complex for the next 10 years and I’m really ecstatic to be a part of it.”
Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, is up for re-election next November and anyone thinking about challenging him faces one major obstacle: money.
Bennett has quietly amassed a lot — $292,478 — in his campaign fund.
Four years ago at this time — a year before the last time the 52nd District seat was on the ballot — Bennett had $53,302 in his campaign account.
No Republicans have expressed interest in the 52nd District race, said Mark Shelden, the Champaign County recorder who is among several GOP officials attempting to fill the party’s ticket for next year’s election.
“I don’t know of anyone,” he said.
Circumstances are being kind to Bennett. Not only does he have a robust campaign fund, but his district, which includes Champaign and Vermilion counties, has grown steadily more Democratic. He beat a good Republican candidate in 2016, Urbana’s Mike Madigan, by more than 20 percentage points. The state Democratic Party and the Senate Democratic Victory Fund are in better financial shape than their Republican counterparts. Further, Democrats likely will draw the next legislative district maps in 2021 and they’re not going to do anything to diminish Bennett’s advantage.
Tom Kacich’s column appears on Sundays in The News-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.