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« Weldon Steps Down In FL | Blog Home Page | Gaming Out SC Results »

Chicago's Expensive

With Illinois's congressional primary taking place on February 5, candidates' financial records for the last three months were due last night to the FEC, a week earlier than candidates in other states. As the reports indicate, the Chicago-area districts with competitive primaries are proving to be incredibly expensive.

In the 14th District, west of Chicago, where former Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat is being vigorously contested in the Republican primary, dairy company owner Jim Oberweis spent some $1.4 million from October 1 to January 16, the dates outlined in the most recent filing. His competition for the Republican nomination, State Senator Chris Lauzen, also spent a hefty sum, dispersing more than $500,000 in the last three months.

The campaign's hefty cost is due in part to the expensive Chicago media market, and also to the personal wealth both candidates enjoy. In the Democratic primary race, Bill Foster spent close to $750,000 in the last three months, outspending his rival John Laesch, the 2006 nominee, by some $700,000.

In the 3rd District, where Congressman Daniel Lipinski has had his closest races in a Democratic primary, Assistant State's Attorney Mark Pera spent close to $500,000 in the last three months. Pera, hoping to capitalize on Lipinski's vulnerability, has retained Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, a major Washington polling and media firm, and has run television ads throughout the Chicago area. Lipinski spent just under $100,000, and still has close to $400,000 in the bank. With no other Democrats spending large amounts of money, Lipinski could see much closer primary results this year than in 2006.

North of Chicago, in the 8th District, Congresswoman Melissa Bean doesn't need to worry about a competitive primary, but she has been preparing for her biennial fight for her life. President Bush won 56% here in the last two presidential elections, while Bean has never won more than 52% in either of her two election wins.

With just under 10 months to go before the general election, Bean has close to $1.3 million in the bank, a large total to start an election year with. But Republican businessman Steven Greenberg has raised just more than $400,000 so far, and has less than $100,000 cash on hand.

-- Kyle Trygstad