Asked in August about her fundraising, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, said little.
“My family has given me money,” she told a reporter during a factory tour in Sterling. “My former boss has given me money.”
It turns out she was just scratching the surface. Her financial report for July through September revealed that hundreds more people donated to her 2014 campaign, with many contributions as small as $5, $10 and $15.
Bustos, whose 17th District includes Whiteside County, will likely face her Republican predecessor, Bobby Schilling of Colona, in the November 2014 election. She beat him last year.
As of Sept. 30, Bustos had raised $767,068, with $612,563 on hand. Schilling, who announced his campaign in early July, pulled in considerably less – $174,959, with nearly that much on hand as of Sept. 30.
During the 3-month reporting period, Bustos added $304,730 to her coffers, nearly twice that of Schilling, who was in the race almost that entire time.
Through Act Blue, a liberal political action committee, Bustos raised $35,049 for her campaign. The group acts as an Internet conduit for people to donate. It is one of the largest sources of money for Democrats.
She also received nearly $8,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She pulled in a little more than $7,000 from JStreet, a PAC that promotes Israel, where she visited this year.
Locally, her donors include Ed Andersen, the retired CEO of CGH Medical Center, who has given $1,000 so far.
For Schilling, GOP governor candidate Bruce Rauner, a billionaire venture capitalist, and his wife, Diana Rauner, contributed $7,800 to the campaign. Their combined donations make them the largest donor.
Among other large contributions were $5,000 from both the Tuesday Group PAC, a centrist Republican group, and Prosperity PAC, which is affiliated with Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman who ran for vice president last year.
Schilling’s local contributors include Larry Gerdes ($3,000), a Lee County landowner who is opposed to wind farm development. Others are Leo Wahl of Sterling ($500), Max Dahl of Erie ($1,000) and Kay Ferris of Sterling ($250).
Kinzinger readies for tea party challenge
In the 16th District, which includes Lee County, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, has raised $776,300 and had $539,862 in his coffers as of Sept. 30.
His big contributors included Prosperity PAC ($5,000), Nuclear Energy Institute PAC ($5,000), National Association of Broadcasters PAC ($5,000), Honeywell PAC ($6,055) and Boeing PAC ($7,000).
His local contributors were state Rep. Tom Demmer’s campaign ($500), Dixon attorney Gary Gehlbach ($250), Ehrmann, Gehlbach, Badger & Lee ($250), Adel Mobarek of Dixon ($300), and Jim Schielein, a farmer and Dixon school board member ($350).
Kinzinger represents a safe GOP district, but he will face a tea party opponent in the March primary. David Hale, founder of the Rockford Tea Party, recently announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination.
Fundraising a shunned subject
Congressmen usually say little about their fundraising, preferring to talk about their meetings with constituents rather than wealthy donors.
Both Bustos and Kinzinger have been largely silent about their fundraising.
When Bustos was running for office last year, though, she issued a news release about how successful her campaign was in fundraising compared with Schilling, a one-term incumbent. She noted that her campaign had outraised her opponent by more than $100,000.
No news release was issued this time, despite Bustos having more than triple the cash that Schilling has on hand.
On Tuesday, Bustos’ spokesman, Colin Milligan, declined to talk specifics about the report.
“From Day 1, Congresswoman Bustos’ priorities have been clear – creating good-paying jobs, protecting Medicare and Social Security, and serving the hardworking people of Illinois’ 17th Congressional District,” Milligan said in a statement.
In 2012, Schilling raised $2.5 million to Bustos’ $2.2 million, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Race for money
Here are how much congressional candidates had raised as of Sept. 30:
16th District *
Adam Kinzinger (R) $776,300
Cheri Bustos (D) $767,068
Bobby Schilling (R) $174,959
* David Hale recently announced GOP candidacy, but has not filed a report.