‘Unprecedented’ Campaign Spending in Illinois

Campaign money in Illinois this year is being spent quicker than an Aroldis Chapman fastball. It has reached, according to an expert who monitors money raised and spent, “unprecedented” levels.

Both Democrats and Republicans are handing out sizeable political contributions but no one is doing it more than Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“Gov. Rauner has transferred about $21 million from his committee, Citizens for Rauner, to the Illinois Republican Party this year,” Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said in an interview. “Its sort of mind-boggling the amounts of money that we’ve been seeing throughout this entire year.”

Republicans…Democrats it doesn’t matter. What matters is power in Springfield. And it’s not coming cheaply.

“As of September 30th both parties combined,” Brune said, “had over $50 million on hand ready to spend in the last month of the election.”

Like in the fiercely competitive comptroller race.

In 2014 incumbent Judy Baar Topinka and challenger Shelia Simon---together ---took in just over a million dollars.

Now Republican Leslie Munger and Democrat Susana Mendoza have raised a combined $11-million, money that buys campaign ads.

“We get a lot of calls from people who just want it to stop,” Brune said. “They are exhausted.”

In the Illinois House and Senate, where salaries start at $68,000, millions upon millions have been spent to see who has the most political muscle: Governor Rauner or House Speaker Michael Madigan, the southwest side Democrat.

The highly touted race in the 20th House District is one of about a dozen targeted contests in a proxy war between the Governor and the Speaker. On the northwest side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, the race pits Republican incumbent Michael McAuliffe and Democratic challenger Merry Marwig where a whopping $4-million has been spent for just that one seat.

No matter what happens Democrats in the Illinois House will retain their majority. The question at hand is will they retain enough members to override any potential veto by the Governor.

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