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Local

Kinzinger has big money lead over challenger

First-term Congressman Adam Kinzinger has out-raised his opponent by so much that even a handful of the Republican's single individual donations would put him ahead.

Between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, the most recent deadline for Federal Election Commission reporting, Kinzinger, R-Channahon, raised about $1.5 million; about $550,000 still was available at the end of June.

His opponent, Randall Olsen, a Democrat from Ottawa, raised just $5,569 in the first 6 months of this year and had $1,832 available at the end of June.

Kinzinger represents the 16th Congressional District, which includes Lee County.

Congressional incumbents are now being more serious about seemingly easy races, said Russ Choma, a spokesman for the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan political and election research organization.

That, he said, is a result of Rep. Eric Cantor's surprising loss to Dave Brat in Virginia's Republican primary election this spring.

And although Brat had raised more money than Olsen, Choma said that loss by the House majority leader might make Kinzinger spend a little more in the district than he would have otherwise.

Kinzinger has used his big lead to earn some goodwill within the Republican Party. He's donated 10 percent of his campaign funds to other GOP candidates, Choma said. 

"It's a good way to make friends in Congress, and it also shows loyalty."

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