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Big money in Senate showdown

Albracht receives $175,000 from GOP committee

STERLING – State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, nearly doubled his Republican opponent in fundraising in recent months.

But Bill Albracht, R-Moline, is catching up.

From July to September, Jacobs raised $216,115 to Albracht’s $110,311, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Board of Elections. Their 36th District includes much of Whiteside County.

Both candidates have received sizable donations after they filed their last reports.

In recent days, Albracht, a Vietnam veteran and a former Secret Service agent, got more than $175,000 from the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee.

Around the same time, Jacobs received a $41,670 in-kind contribution for “production and postage” from the Illinois Democratic Party. In recent weeks, the state party has sent at least five glossy mailers attacking Albracht on such issues as Medicaid.

From July to September, nearly a third of Jacobs’ donations came from unions, including $17,000 from AFSCME, a public employees union.

Last week, AFSCME gave Jacobs an additional $20,000.

The senator also got $10,000 from Exelon, the parent company of ComEd, and $8,500 from Ameren, the electric utility for much of the southern half of the state.

Jacobs, whose father has been a lobbyist for ComEd, successfully sponsored a bill last year to increase the utilities’ rates to pay for improvements to the power grid that would reduce the number of outages.

In an interview, Jacobs said Albracht didn’t have much support beyond the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee.

“I work hard to raise my owns funds to keep myself independent,” he said.

Jacobs said his contributions come from diverse sources.

“It’s not every day that [unions] give money to the same person that the Illinois Chamber of Commerce gives to,” Jacobs said. “They give to me because I’m a middle-of-road person.”

He also received $1,000 from Caterpillar employees, a company that, he said, has been an “ardent critic of Democrats.”

Albracht campaign spokesman Rachel Bold said Albracht didn’t have time for an interview. She said her candidate is not a career politician.

Donations to Albracht’s campaign “are from concerned citizens and not interest groups,” Bold said.

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