Darin LaHood cuts campaign spending in half

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US House Office of Photography

Darin LaHood's most recent official photograph.

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood spent $1.2 million to get re-elected in 2018, half of what he spent in the previous election cycle.

LaHood, Republican Congressman for Illinois’ 18th District, spent over $2.2 million for his 2016 special election campaign, when he ran for the seat of Aaron Schock, who resigned after being charged with campaign fraud. 

LaHood went on to beat his Democratic opponent, Junius Rodriguez, in the 2018 election with 68 percent of the votes.

A Republican has served the 18th Congressional district since 1939. The 18th district covers central and western Illinois, and includes Jacksonville, Quincy and parts of Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield. 

Of LaHood’s $1.2 million expenditures, he spent the most on campaign fundraising with firms 814 Consulting, located in Alexandria, Virginia, and Chicago-based BKZ Consulting. Overall, he spent $360,000 between the two firms, according to Federal Election Commission records

Fundraising consultants are experts to support the organization in raising donations. Out of 22 political clients – including PACs and fellow congressmen and congresswomen – LaHood spent the most for 814’s services, over $229,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). 

FEC regulations state that candidates may transfer funds to a future election campaign or donate to charity. They are not allowed to take funds for personal use.

LaHood spent a large portion of his funds on contributions to other political campaigns, direct mail production and postage, compliance consulting and event catering. 

He spent $250,000 toward various Republican organizations, including the Illinois Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

He spent $56,000 through The Voyageur Company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, which sends out fundraising mail to prospective voters. They currently serve four other Illinois Republican Congressmen, including Rep. Rodney Davis and Rep. John Porter.

Unlike many candidates, LaHood spends very little on media advertising. 

 LaHood spent only $3,600 on E-Marketing and $100 on other online advertising. LaHood is one of the few congressmen stepping back from political advertisements. The Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan, nonprofit group that keeps track of campaign finances found that more than $5 billion was spent on advertising the 2018 midterm election. This is higher than any previous midterm election cycle. 

Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service commissioned a voter survey after the 2016 election to find out voter attitudes on the efficiency of different forms of political outreach. The results found that 67% of those surveyed believe that mail sent to the home is useful. This ranked number one over TV ads, emails and other online advertisements.
A report from the CRP revealed that the average winning House candidate spent $1.3 million for the 2016 cycle. LaHood’s 2016 campaign expenditures went far above the average, but his 2018 campaign was right on the mark.

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