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Smiddy way ahead in fundraising

Demmer, Bivins have safe seats

Published: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – State Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, is far outpacing his Republican rivals in fundraising. 

As of Sept. 30, Smiddy, who represents Whiteside County, had $86,944 in his coffers. He raised $95,000 in the latest quarter, July through September. He spent $47,410 during that time.

Republicans Jim Wozniak and Jeff McKinley, both of whom are assistant state’s attorneys in Rock Island County, have announced they are running in the March GOP primary for the 71st House District.

The 71st District is considered a battleground. Last November, Smiddy beat Republican incumbent Rich Morthland, who defeated Democrat Dennis Ahern in 2010. Before that, Democrat Mike Boland held the seat.

As of Sept. 30, McKinley had $826 in his account and Wozniak, $955, according to their campaign finance reports filed with the state Board of Elections. 

Although the Republicans’ totals are low now, the race will likely become more expensive. Smiddy’s totals indicate he expects a battle. Most legislative seats in Illinois go unopposed, with incumbents virtually assured of victory.

Wozniak said he and McKinley will find more success in raising funds when they become official candidates in December. 

“I’ve been told by multiple sources that the 71st District will be very targeted by the Republicans and Republican organizations,” Wozniak said. “There will be money coming to the race.”

“Since it is the primary, a lot of Republican donors are seeing how it shakes out,” said Michael Coyne, McKinley’s campaign manager. “I combed through [Smiddy’s] report. He didn’t have a single donation under $150 from any individuals. We have the grassroots. He wants to buy the seat back. Good luck.”

Smiddy’s campaign manager, Ben Head, said that because of politics these days, Smiddy believes he must raise money to be competitive. The last election, Head said, indicated the district was “rather Democratic,” but that could have been because Barack Obama was at the top of the ballot.

Other districts won’t see much competition, if at all. Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who represents a solidly GOP district, received just $2,250 during the past quarter, though he has $25,400 in his coffers. No one has announced an intention to run against him.

Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, who also is expected to run unopposed, had no contributions in the last quarter. He had $17,360 in his account Sept. 30.

For Smiddy during the past quarter, nearly two-thirds of his donations – $59,500 – came from unions, most of which represent public employees. On Aug. 29, he received $49,000 from the political action committee of the Illinois Education Association, a teachers union.

The 36th Senate District will also likely see a heated battle.

Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, is running for re-election in the district, which includes Whiteside County. 

Earlier this month, after the campaign finance reporting deadline, Moline firefighter Neil Anderson announced that he would run for the Republican nomination.

Jacobs said he feared the race could become another $3 million contest. 

“That’s a part of the business that I really don’t like – raising money. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I wished we could sign an agreement to talk to voters and not to spend a dime. Face it, the national Republicans and the tea party will pour money into this race.”

Campaign cash

Here's how much money candidates had in their campaign coffers Sept. 30:

71st House District

Mike Smiddy (D) $86,944

Jim Wozniak (R) $955

Jeff McKinley (R) $826

90th House District

Tom Demmer (R) $25,400

36th Senate District

Mike Jacobs (D) $128,977

Neil Anderson (R) No report yet

45th Senate District

Tim Bivins (R) $17,360

Source: Reports filed with Illinois Board of Elections

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