Government

Rep. Brad Schneider decreases campaign spending so far from last election

Rachel Gardner / For CU-CitizenAccess

Democratic congressional incumbent Brad Schneider has sharply decreased his campaign spending from $3,024,001 in 2019-2020 to a spending just a little over half a million so far in the first months of 2021-2022 election cycle.

Schneider has represented the 10th congressional district of Illinois since 2017. The district lies in the northeast corner of the state, representing the northern suburbs of Chicago. 

In the past three campaign cycles, Schneider has spent an average of $3,835,026. He spent the most money during the 2015-2016 cycle at $5,057,592, defeating Republican incumbent Robert Dold by nearly 5%. His highest expenditure at the time went towards advertising at $3,215,866.

Dr. Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, said it’s unlikely that the pattern of the 2022 election will be different from the 2020 election. 

“Schneider’s campaign expenditures throughout the past few elections are interesting because it illustrates what can happen when a district changes over time,” Redfield said. “His district used to be very competitive and targeted, and there was a lot of engagement with national parties and interest groups. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping a safe district safe.”

According to Redfield, Schneider’s incumbency can be saved in the 2022 election simply by repeating what he has done in previous campaigns, and that includes staying in touch with the public and being visible. 

As of October 14, Schneider has only spent a total of $516,948, according to the 2021-2022 expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. His top expenditure of $200,000 went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which uses funds to help support Democratic House candidates and expand the Democratic majority. 

Most of Schneider’s money for this cycle has also been spent on payroll at $99,621, fundraising at $57,500 and campaign consulting at $30,000.  

Reports from OpenSecrets, a non-profit organization that analyzes campaign spending, indicate that Schneider spent much of his money on similar entities in the 2019-2020 cycle. His highest disbursement went to advertising and media at $608,615, payroll at $435,193 and fundraising at $425,110.

Adelstein & Associates, a digital media company based in Chicago, produces campaign advertisements and videos for government officials. The company has helped elect 59 members of congress, 11 senators and 2 presidents. 

Schneider’s campaign has used Adelstein & Associates since the 2015-2016 election cycle. He spent $3,028,376 in the 2016 election, $1,262,481 in the 2018 election and $608,615 in the 2020 election. However, the expenditure report for the 2022 election currently doesn’t show any payments to Adelstein & Associates. 

So far, Schneider has donated a total of $8,750 to 16 food banks in Lake County and Cook County. His highest donation of $2,000 went to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which has over 700 partners throughout Cook County to “ensure that nutritious food is available all year to our neighbors in need.”

In 2019-2020, Schneider’s food bank donations reached $78,250.

He has also donated $2,250 to non-profit organizations, according to the 2021-2022 FEC expenditure reports. These organizations include Friends of Round Lake Beach at $1,000, the Urban Muslim Minority Alliance (UMMA) Center at $500, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Lake County at $500 and the Roberti Community House at $250. 

John Fallon, treasurer for NAMI Lake County, said Schneider is familiar with NAMI and has seen the work that they do to educate the public about mental illness and provide free support groups.

“We purchased educational materials and provide training for volunteers who offer support groups using the NAMI National curriculum,” said Fallon in an email. “During the pandemic, there’s an increased awareness of the need for mental health services and donations and we pride ourselves in having almost no fundraising or administrative expenses. All of our donations go to directly help or train people impacted by mental health issues in the community.”

With the general election on November 8, 2022, there’s still plenty of time for Schneider to increase his campaign spending although he is running against Democratic candidate Kim Nowak who has so far spent $0, according to the FEC. Andrew Mayersohn, committee researcher at OpenSecrets, said this could be good news for Schneider. 

“The primary is still a ways away,” said Mayersohn in an email, “but if Nowak still has not raised any money when the next quarterly reports are due in October, that’s probably a sign that she’s not mounting a serious challenge or is not running at all.”

Schneider is a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and according to an article from NBC, Schneider said in the article, “it’s hard to envision going into an administration with a partner who doesn’t acknowledge the legitimacy of that administration or is showing a commitment to the truth.” 

Schneider also announced he will no longer be sponsoring a bill with Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona that provides Family and Medical Leave Act protections to parents who lost a child, due to Gosar being a vocal supporter of false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. 

On Nowak’s Facebook page, she openly criticized Schneider for cutting off work relationships with Republican candidates and withdrawing sponsorships after the January 6 Capital riots. 

Despite Nowak’s effort to create a presence on social media platforms, Redfield said that her campaign is highly unlikely to pose a threat against Schneider’s incumbency. 

“This is not going to be a race where it would make any sense for national interest groups and national parties to get involved with a new candidate,” Redfield said. “It’s going to be very difficult to get a credible opponent to run against Schneider that will have a threshold of visibility and vitality with the public.”

Rachel Gardner / For CU-CitizenAccess

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