CHAMPAIGN — Democratic congressional candidate George Gollin of Champaign has put $165,000 of his own money into his 13th Congressional District race, a report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows.
Gollin, 60, a physics professor at the University of Illinois, reported $135,509 in contributions since organizing his campaign in February. With $165,000 in what is listed as two separate loans to his campaign, Gollin now has $262,087 on hand.
"That's what I'm willing to do at this point," Gollin said Monday of his personal financial commitment. "Later, we'll see. Later is later. It felt like it was good enough to do right now."
Apparently neither of the other announced Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District, Ann Callis of Edwardsville nor David Green of Champaign, has yet filed a third quarter report with the FEC. But certain parts of the FEC website are not being updated because of the partial government shutdown.
Republican candidates Erika Harold and incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis also have not filed third quarter reports, according to the FEC website.
Many of Gollin's donors were from out of state — New York, California, New Jersey, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia and Florida — and were identified either as professors, scientists or physicists. Several already have given the maximum $5,200 contribution, including longtime friends Philip Bucksbaum and his wife, Roberta Morris of Menlo Park, Calif.; Peter Meyers and Grayson Barber of Princeton, N.J.; and Tamar Eskin of Glenn Dale, Md.
Also giving the maximum were both Gollin's mother, Dolores Joseph of Champaign and her partner, Dr. Donald Jones, also of Champaign.
Gollin also received several campaign contributions from University of Illinois faculty members and retirees, including $250 from former Urbana campus Chancellor Richard H. Herman and $1,000 from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Anthony Leggett.
"I'm very gratified how the people I call — a lot of them teach science at universities and do research — and they really light up when I tell them I'm running for office," Gollin said. "They all know the importance of science, technology and education in America, and they really light up about this. They've been very forthcoming, which is very gratifying. I didn't know how well it would go, but people are excited about my running."
Gollin received no money from political action committees or Democratic Party groups, although he said he wouldn't rule that out.
"I've been calling people as opposed to organizations on the phone to describe my hopes of becoming elected," he said. "I haven't been focusing on PACs at this point. It would depend on what their stances were on issues. There are PACs that do good stuff."
The Gollin campaign also released the results of a poll by Public Policy Polling that shows both Gollin and Callis — who is backed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — trailing freshman U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.
But the results are statistically similar, with Gollin trailing Davis 41 percent to 33 percent while Callis is behind the congressman, 40 percent to 35 percent. The margin of error in the poll was plus or minus 3.6 percent.
The poll of 738 voters in the 13th District was taken Oct. 7 and 8. The 13th District runs in an arc across central Illinois, starting at Champaign-Urbana and cutting through Decatur, Springfield and parts of Bloomington-Normal down to Edwardsville and Collinsville.
"Obviously, these are terrific results for Dr. Gollin's campaign. The political insiders have been selling the idea that only Ms. Callis could compete against Rodney Davis, and that's clearly not true," said Gollin's campaign manager, Monica Biddix. "We have said from the start that this is not the year for incumbents or insiders."
A separate primary-only poll from PPP showed 52 percent of voters were undecided about their primary choice, and another 22 percent said they could change their mind.