These Illinois House Republicans hold huge fundraising leads over Dem rivals

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6th District Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam (l) Democrat (r) Sean Casten | Sun-Times photos

WASHINGTON – The Illinois House members with the biggest November races –  Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren, Rodney Davis and Michael Bost – have significantly more cash on hand than their Democratic rivals, new Federal Election Commission reports show.

Democrats have been trying to create a “blue wave” heading into the mid-term elections, and Illinois Democratic voter turnout jumped in the March primary. It’s hard – and this is true for candidates in both parties – to translate that into a green cash surge when running against an incumbent getting fundraising help from special interest political action committees.

Financial details on the big Illinois races are below; before that, some fundraising highlights:

  • 8th Dist. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., of Schaumburg, is sitting on the biggest war chest of any Illinois House member, $4,362,699, a stunning amount since Krishnamoorthi faces a nominal GOP rival for his eighth congressional district seat who has reported no cash on hand.
  • 17th Dist. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., of Moline, is next, with $3,124,574 in the bank; she faces nominal GOP 17th district competition.
  • 11th Dist. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., of Naperville, has the third largest balance, $3,014,061 and also has only nominal GOP 11th district competition.

What Krishnamoorthi, Bustos and Foster have in common: After facing tough races in the past in districts that are not totally safe for Democrats, the big cash advantage serves to make potentially strong challengers think twice before taking them on. The strategy worked for them in 2018.

  • While Hultgren and Bost have plenty of election cash stockpiled, their rivals, Lauren Underwood and Brendan Kelly out-raised them in April, May and June.
  • In the 3rd Congressional District, the Republican nominee, Arthur Jones of Lyons, an admitted anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and white supremacist, reported to the FEC taking in zero money. Candidates who raise less than $5,000 do not have to file. While Jones is running a minimal campaign in a Democratic district, his candidacy attracts attention ironically because of his  reprehensible views. Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski has $478,519 cash on hand as of July 1.
  • Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is almost out of campaign money, reporting only $24,298 cash-on-hand in the July quarterly report, the smallest war chest in the delegation.

Here’s a look at second-quarter FEC reports for the three months prior to July 1 for the major Illinois House races.

6th District: ROSKAM vs. CASTEN

Roskam, from Wheaton is battling Democrat Sean Casten, a Downers Grove former energy company executive.

Roskam last quarter Raised: $943,508 Operating expenditures: $864,312 July 1 Cash-on-hand: $2,337,557 Casten last quarter Raised: $791,086 Operating expenditures: $350,357 July 1 cash-on-hand: $646,749

12th District: BOST vs. KELLY

Bost, from Murphysboro, faces Brendan Kelly, of Swansea, the St. Clair County State’s Attorney.

Bost last quarter Raised: $340,842 Operating expenditures: $206,093 July 1 cash-on-hand: $1,336,330 Kelly last quarter Raised: $441,991 Operating expenditures: $711,172 July 1 cash-on-hand: $777,611

13th District: DAVIS vs. LONDRIGAN

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield, a first-time candidate, is challenging Davis, from Taylorville.

Davis last quarter Raised $508,532 Operating expenditures: $273,869 July 1 cash-on-hand: $1,591,509 Londrigan last quarter Raised: $507,720 Operating expenditures: $125,187 July 1 cash on hand: $658,649

14th District: HULTGREN vs. UNDERWOOD

Hultgren, of Plano, faces Lauren Underwood of Naperville, a nurse who worked on policy at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.

Hultgren last quarter Raised: $388,111 Operating expenditures: 146,146 July 1 cash-on-hand: $1,020,363 Underwood last quarter Raised: $473,265 Operating expnditures: $117,873 July 1 cash-on-hand: $651,884

10th District: SCHNEIDER vs. BENNETT

It looks like a big race will not materialize for 10th Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider, who has a decisive fundraising lead over Republican Doug Bennett; both are from Deerfield.

Schneider last quarter Raised: $619,340 Operating expenditures: $187,963 July 1 cash-on-hand: $2,498,669 Bennett last quarter Raised: $52,330 Operating expenditures: $40,432 July 1 cash-on-hand: $44,622


  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, was in Chicago boosting Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker at a free event aimed at turning out the female vote and headlining a fundraiser for Bustos. Gillibrand was the draw for a Sunday funder for Underwood.
  • A relatively new fundraising group, Invest to Elect Illinois, hosted a breakfast fundraiser Monday morning for two endangered Democratic Senators. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. The funder was at DLA Piper, 444 W. Lake.
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