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Local

Bustos raises more than $1 million for 17th Dist. rematch

Rival Schilling has yet to file fundraising totals

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos has given few details about how she is raising money for her re-election bid this year. Whatever her method, she says it’s working.

On Monday, the East Moline Democrat announced in a news release that she raised $1.1 million last year.

“Our grassroots campaign is humbled to have the strong support of so many across our region of Illinois,” campaign manager Jeremy Jansen said in the release.

In 2012, Bustos beat then-Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, who had served one term representing the 17th Congressional District, which includes Whiteside and Carroll counties.

In early July, Schilling announced he would seek to regain his former seat. In response to that news, Bustos’ representatives said they were focused on the issues, “not an election that is over a year away.”

At that point, Bustos, a former newspaper reporter and East Moline alderman, had pulled in more than $400,000 for her 2014 campaign.

Incumbents often call potential donors from lists compiled by party organizations. In an August interview, Bustos said members of Congress get their lists from different sources, but she wouldn’t identify where she receives hers.

She also wouldn’t give information about her fundraising events.

“My family has given me money,” she said. “My former boss has given me money.”

Previous reports, though, indicated she received much of her money from other sources. A detailed report for the last quarter of her fundraising wasn’t on the Federal Election Commission website as of Monday afternoon.

According to her news release, Bustos’ campaign has about $820,000 cash on hand. It got $327,316 over the last 3 months of the year.

The release compared that to Schilling’s fundraising in 2011, the year before his re-election bid. Schilling had $612,000 cash on hand and $219,955 in the last quarter that year.

Jon Schweppe, spokesman for Schilling’s campaign, said the campaign would have its report out later this month. The reporting deadline is Jan. 31.

“Cheri Bustos is pretty good at fundraising from Washington lobbyists and special interests,” Schweppe said. “She raises money from PACs and gets money from Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. When Bobby Schilling was the incumbent, we generated a lot of money from inside the district.”

Jansen, Bustos’ campaign manager, couldn’t be reached for comment.

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