The race for the 36th District seat in the Illinois Senate is expected to bring in big bucks again this year.
In the 2013 race, incumbent Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, raked in $1.6 million in donations, while his unsuccessful Republican challenger, Bill Albracht, raised about half of that, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
For this year’s November general election, Jacobs, whose district includes Whiteside County, raised $28,939 from October through December. He has about $130,000 on hand.
His GOP rival, Moline firefighter Neil Anderson, raised $11,150 during the same period.
Wednesday was the latest reporting deadline for campaign finance statements.
“We’re not thrilled by that amount,” said Paula DeWild, Anderson’s campaign manager. “Our focus was to get petitions, meet people, let them know he is in the race, not grab money.”
Neither candidate has an opponent in the March 18 primary elections.
The 36th District contest, DeWild said, is the top priority for Senate Republicans.
“We’re starting off on our own, but they’ll be helping us,” she said.
All but one of Jacobs’ itemized donations in this past quarter were from outside his district. They came from major corporations such as Wal-Mart, Pepsi and Pfizer, and groups such as the Illinois Hospital Association, the National Rifle Association, and ComEd’s political action committee.
“Jacobs raised money from the outside and is spending it almost as fast as he gets it,” DeWild said. “We’re not running to outside sources at this point. We’re focused on the grassroots.”
Jacobs said he was “sick and tired of begging people for money,” but that third-party groups are going to raise money to run ads against him, as they did last time.
“Fundraising is the part of the campaign I hate the most,” the senator said. “If my opponent said he won’t take any outside money, I would do that, too, and we would just talk about the issues. There will be a couple of million dollars of third-party money spent on [Anderson’s] behalf, and he’ll act like he knows nothing about it.”
As for the outside contributions, Jacobs said, many of them are from companies with a presence inside the district.
The area’s other high-dollar campaign will likely be the one for Illinois House District 71, where Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, beat incumbent Rich Morthland, R-Cordova, in 2012. In that race, Smiddy raised $461,609 – nearly all contributions from unions – far ahead of Morthland’s $192,372.
In this past quarter, Smiddy, whose district includes Whiteside County, raised $30,974, including a $20,000 donation from the Illinois Federation of Teachers. He has $77,546 on hand.
Two Republicans, Jim Wozniak and Jeff McKinley, both prosecutors in the Rock Island County state’s attorney’s office, are vying in the March 18 GOP primary to face Smiddy.
In the recent quarter, Wozniak pulled in $7,316, while McKinley raised $1,996.
“For the primary, it’s going well,” Wozniak said. “I’m pleased with the quarter. More money is always better for a race. If I’m victorious in the primary, I’ll pick up substantially after that.”
McKinley couldn’t be reached for comment.
Rep. Tom Demmer and Sen. Tim Bivins, both R-Dixon, are unopposed this year. As with most incumbents, though, they still get contributions, often from big corporations such as AT&T.
Bivins raised $15,860 in the latest quarter, and Demmer collected $4,390.
Here are the total contributions in the last quarter and fund balances for races in competitive districts:
36th Senate District
Candidate; Last quarter's contributions; Fund balance
Mike Jacobs (D); $28,939; $129,187
Neil Anderson (R); $11,150; $10,550
71st House District
Candidate; Last quarter's contributions; Cash on hand
Mike Smiddy (D); $30,974; $77,546
Jim Wozniak (R); $7,316; $5,639
Jeff McKinley (R); $1,996; $4,595