Monday, January 31, 2005

D2: Deadline Day, the sequel

The way these blogs post, you'll likely read the sequel first; know that there's a prequel posted down below. We’re still waiting on some of the Senate candidates, but most of the closely watched House candidates have filed, as have all of the incumbent statewides and the appellate court candidates, so we can list a few preliminary numbers for these races. I say these are preliminary because all of the numbers haven’t been fully checked – I noticed that Sen. Bill Haine moved $30K to a CD after election day and so I didn’t count that toward his campaign spending, but I may have missed similar “expenditures” by other candidates (note that Sen. Haine reported the CD correctly among his expenditures, it’s just that we don’t want to count savings as a campaign expense in these sort of comparisons)

Among House races, the most expensive appear to be (drum roll)

Slone/Schock at $1,460,891 (Republican Schock beat incumbent Slone)
Gordon/Hayse at $1,331,184 (Democrat Gordon beat challenger Hayse)
Grunloh/Reis at $1,180,052 (Republican Reis beat incumbent Grunloh)
Dugan/Pangle at $834,576 (Democrat Dugan beat challenger Pangle)
Flider/England at $705,892 (Democrat Flider beat challenger England; he also outspent England by more than 10:1. That this race made the Top Five is a tribute to overkill)

It’s worth noting that most House races didn’t cost anywhere near this much. Most incumbents raise $50K to $100K over the course of a two-year term, and for most of them, that’s plenty. But in each of these expensive races, one caucus looked at somebody across the aisle and decided to make a play. All of these races had heavy, heavy infusions from their caucuses. (Cauci?) And every incumbent knows that, if it happens to them, they have to hope that their leader thinks they’re worth saving; there aren’t many other places to get that kind of cash in a hurry. In a sense, these races serve as an object lesson for the ones who aren’t targeted: watch out, lest this happen to you. It was southern Cook County in the mid-90s, then the far south, then the northern suburbs; now it appears to be central Illinois. Throwing this kind of money around cannot be good for democracy.

The Supreme Court race was obscene; there’s just no other word for it. The race cost a total of $8,929,683. Lloyd Karmeier may be a wonderful jurist, but he’s just one guy; his seat cost more than the last four seats combined. And nearly all of the money came from exactly one place: tort interests (reformers for the Republicans, trial bar for the Dems). Most of the Court’s docket has nothing to do with tort cases; they hear a lot of criminal cases (death penalties are an automatic appeal), juvenile, divorce, probate, contracts, but the only part of the docket that rang the cash registers were personal injuries, which account for less than a tenth of all cases they hear. What does it mean for the Court that one small part of the docket is determining who’s got the cash to run for a seat?

Oh, there was an Appellate Court seat up, too. Former Rep. Mary K. O’Brien beat Jim Wright; they combined for $553,693. And sixty-seven cents. Lots of tort money there, too.

I admit: thought Saving Healthcare and Industry For Tomorrow (SHIFT) was a PAC for Karmeier supporters. And maybe it was, in a way. But their report shows that they spent $1,380 to bring ABC News Reporter John Stossel to town. And another $12,116.48 to buy copies of Stossel’s book. And they gave $$2.5K to the Illinois Chamber PAC. And that’s all they spent. Maybe Stossel helped somebody win an elective office. Seems like a lot of money for some books.

As of 9:30, Citizens for Calvin Giles hadn’t filed. The committee went a year without filing, triggering fines by the State Board of Elections totaling $143,000. $80K of that took effect last summer, and threatened to knock Rep. Giles off the ballot. His lawyers got him out of that, but now he’s got to come up with $63K to pay the rest of the fines in order to be on the ballot next year. Unless his lawyers, or somebody else, can get him off that hook, too.

The statewides raised some money, too, but not much; they seem to have left the field to those who were on the ballot last year. Gov. Blagojevich reported $994K raised (these figures include in-kinds); he spent most of that, too, and ended the year with $10,391,191.17 in the bank. AG Madigan reported $235K raised and ended up with $803,722.57. SoS White raised $325K and ended with $1,179,389. Comptroller Hynes raised $65K and left $160,046 in the bank. Treasurer Topinka took in $247K and had $618,112 on hand.

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