Friday, March 10, 2006

Tidbits and Pieces

Ron who?

One of the things that Ron Gidwitz and Steve Rauschenberger did to cement their political partnership was to form a new PAC. The PAC is called “Ron Gidwitz-Steven J. Rauschenberger Illinois” in its official listing on the State Board site, though it appears that it’s common name is intended to be the “Turn Around Team”. The PAC (S9051) reports $862K in receipts from a who’s who of top-shelf Republican donors, though most of the money ($750K) came from Ron Gidwitz for Governor. (Gidwitz and Rauschenberger retain their own committees).

The Turn Around Team has given to a few candidates, but recipients seem reluctant to admit that Ron Gidwitz has had anything to do with the money. The PAC reported giving $500 to Republican House candidate Bill Seith on 2/16/06. Seith reported getting $500 from the “Steven J. Rauschenberger Turn Around Team”. The PAC reported giving $2K to State Rep. Ruth Munson on 1/7/06, but she reports the money as coming from “Rauschenberger, Betty and Steven” on 1/9/06 (there’s no other reference to a $2K contribution that could be this money). The PAC reports $5K to the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee (listed as “Senate Republican Campaign Committee” in its’ Pre), but the RSSCC shows the money coming from the Steven J. Rauschenberger Turn Around Team.”

Is it odd that the recipients keep forgetting to list Ron Gidwitz among the donors? Maybe, maybe not; it could be that the fund, despite its listing with the SBE, is a Rauschenberger-administered fund, and that they intend it to be known as the Turn Around Team, and not necessarily a Gidwitz project. Heck; when Gidwitz reports receiving money from the PAC ($105K), even he lists it as being from “Turn Around Team.” (As with the next example, we may be double counting some of this money in the candidate totals).

Mangieri’s Two Way Street

DPI-endorsed Treasurer candidate Paul Mangieri reports significant contributions from DPI, which isn’t surprising at all. He shows $307K in receipts, $137K from DPI or Chairman Michael J. Madigan. But he also reports giving $20K to DPI on 2/26/06. Maybe we should cut his total by that much to avoid double counting?

Judicial Races

There are 4 contested primaries for Appellate Court, all among Democrats. Both the most expensive and the least expensive are in Cook County. The race to replace Neil Hartigan, who was unopposed the last time he ran, both in the Primary and the General, is the cheapest; that seat must be charmed. Here’s a break out:

(1) Allen Hartman Vacancy (1st District): $399K: (a five-way contest, leading fundraisers include Joy Virginia Cunningham at $219K and David Anthony Erickson at $158K)
(2) Kent Slater Vacancy (3rd District): $263K (A three-way contest; Lance Peterson leads the field with $167K)
(3) Gordon Maag Vacancy (5th District): $248K (A two-way between Bruce Stewart at $162K and Bill Berry at $86K)
(4) Neil Hartigan Vacancy (1st District): $140K (Michael James Murphy leads the field with $129K)


With less than two weeks to go, candidates are pulling every dollar they can find, despite the fact that top spenders don’t always win. The siren call of that one additional ad is all it takes to get candidates to throw caution to the wind – better to win and explain the money later, they think. So watch carefully between now and Primary Day to see what floats past.

Miscellaneous late money:

Ron Gidwitz: $850K from himself
John Stroger: $350K from himself (another of his PACs, actually)
Edwin Eisendrath: $100K from Edwin II and another $100K from Edwin III
Rod Blagojevich: $100K from the Pipe Trades and $50K from Chess Financial

With Gidwitz’ latest infusions, the Republican candidates for governor have more cash to work with than the Democrats. John Stroger hasn’t raised much at all this year -- $333K in new money. Most of his income -- $1.4M worth -- has been transfers from his other PACs

Personal PAC has been writing checks: $27K to Mike Jacobs, $20K to Dave Koehler, $8K to Mark Beaubien, and $8K to Don Harmon

Ameren has also been writing checks. The downstate power company shows $81K to state candidates. Exelon shows another $60K.

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