Springfield Journal Register

October 19, 2004

Illinois house members rake in campaign funds

Dori Meinert
Copley News Service

 WASHINGTON --Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, doesn't have a close race. His Democratic challenger has just $198 in the bank.

Yet  has continued to raise money this year, contributing $104,000 since July 1 to help other Republican candidates running for federal, state and local office, according to his recent campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

On Aug. 12, LaHood transferred $83,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee Battleground 2004 committee, which is working to elect more Republicans to the House.

"If I want to move up in leadership, I need to contribute to my colleagues," said LaHood.

He said the $83,500 is part of $100,000 he raised at the request of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville.

Among the local candidates, LaHood contributed $5,000 to Aaron Schock, who is attempting to unseat Democratic incumbent Ricca Slone in the Illinois House.

Even though they would seem to have few obstacles to their re-election, LaHood and other incumbent House members from central Illinois have out-raised and outspent their opponents significantly in the third quarter of this year and many continue to raise funds, according to their campaign finance reports.

LaHood spent $161,496 and has a cash balance of $724,763 in his campaign fund as of Oct. 13, despite having an opponent who is relatively unknown, according to his last two reports filed with the FEC. Not all candidates have filed their latest reports, which cover the period from Oct. 1-13.

And, LaHood continues to raise money. Since Oct. 13, the cutoff for the FEC's required pre-general report, LaHood has reported receiving another $15,500 including a $5,000 from the Caterpillar Employees Political Action Committee on Oct. 15.

LaHood's Democratic opponent, Steve Waterworth, spent $3,172 the entire election cycle with just $198 cash in the bank as of Sept. 30, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks candidates' campaign finances. His report is not yet available from the FEC.

Some of LaHood's campaign funds are going to other members of Congress from Illinois, who also have no serious election threat and are successful fund-raisers on their own. For example, he gave $1,000 each to Hastert, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Morris, who each have hefty campaign funds already and are themselves giving to other candidates.

Weller raised $284,784 in the third quarter, spent $182,653 and has $635,638 on balance. His Democratic challenger, Tari Renner, has collected $85,000 and spent $62,529 and was left with $130,070 as of Sept. 30, according to her report.

Hastert has a cash balance of $793,526 in his campaign account and Shimkus has $592,490 remaining as of Sept. 30. Their opponents reports aren't available from the FEC.

Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, raised $180,674 and spent $110,165 from July through September and had a $236,518 cash balance entering the final month before the election.

His Republican opponent, Andrea Lane Zinga, raised $55,354 and spent $125,712, leaving her with $28,003 as of Oct. 13, according to her recent reports.

She's received $2,000 from LaHood's political action committee, the Abraham Lincoln Leadership PAC, and another $750 from LaHood's congressional campaign committee, her reports show.

Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, has raised $33,707 in the last quarter, spending $38,645. He has $241,019 remaining. His opponent, David Michael Gill, had a cash balance of $17,065 as of Sept. 30, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

In one of the few Illinois congressional races that is considered to be close, Republican Rep. Phil Crane, R-Wauconda, raised $461,817 in the third quarter, spending, $347,103. As of Sept. 30, he had a cash balance of $626,562.

His Democratic challenger, Melissa Bean, collected $408,827 and spent $517,726, leaving her with $186,867 for the remainder of the campaign.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama spent $5.8 million in the third quarter, leaving him with a cash balance of $1.77 million.

His Republican opponent, Alan Keyes, spent just $222,962 and had $1.13 million remaining.