Champaign County officials say they are facing a host of critical repairs and improvements that need to be made at county buildings but have been deferred for years.
In response, they have proposed a 0.25 percent sales tax referendum they say will cost a median-income household only $20 per year.
Running for reelection in Illinois’ 17th Congressional district, Cheri Bustos spent almost $3.2 million in the 2017-2018 election cycle. The expenditures ranged from dinners at Chicago and Washington DC’s most expensive restaurants, such as the 116 Club, to office supplies at Walmart.
Bustos’s top expenditures include payments towards communications, advertising and financial specialists, donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and paychecks for staffers.
During the 2017-2018 election cycle, Republican U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis’s campaign spent $4,085,715.
Dr. Kent Redfield, a retired professor of Political Science who specialized in campaign finance at the University of Illinois Springfield said Davis increased his campaign spending because he was feeling pressure in his campaign.
Danny K. Davis, the 7th Congressional District Democrat, spent less on his 2018 campaign than any other Illinois Democrat – just $551,000.
Davis has been in office since 1996. Every year, he runs virtually unopposed, always racking up at least 80% of the vote. In 2018, he pulled in 87.6% of the vote against his opponent, Illinois Republican Craig Cameron. In the 2016 election, he captured 84.2% of the vote after spending $503,000.
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.
Lauren Underwood spent about $4.9 million to win her seat in the election for Illinois’s 14th congressional district.
Most of Underwood’s expenditures from 2017-2018 were on TV advertising and payroll processing. Underwood’s campaign spent $2,498,871 million on TV Advertising alone, according the FEC. The payments were to the company “Ethica” in Garden City, NY.
In his first campaign year in the election cycle, Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois’s 4th congressional district spent nearly $1 million after winning against Mark Wayne Lorch of the Republican Party with more than 86% of the votes.
García was elected to Congress in November 2018 and sworn into office on Jan. 3 of this year. He is one of only three congressmen who are newly elected. The 15 other Illinois congressmen were re-elected for this term.
Despite being unopposed in the Republican primary and winning reelection to his seat by 41 percentage points over Democratic challenger Kevin Gaither, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus still spent $1.8 million during the 2018 election season.
Shimkus spent the most money on Gula Graham Group. The Washington, D.C.-based fundraising firm received $500,519 from Volunteers for Shimkus during the 2018 campaign. Another fundraising company, The Voyageur Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, received $57,000.
Democrat Sean Casten spent $6.7 million in the 2018 congressional election to become the representative for Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District, a Chicago west-suburb district that saw the largest amount of money raised and spent in Illinois for a Congressional election.
Since 2007, the Sixth District had retained support for its former Republican House Representative, Peter Roskam. However, the district swung left in 2018 and elected Casten, despite Roskam spending slightly more than Casten in the 2018 election cycle, totaling at $7 million. Casten won the election with 53.6 percent of the vote, followed by Roskam with 46.4 percent. “[Sean’s election win] was an illustration of the blue wave,” said Nancy Shepherdson, a Democratic committeewoman for the Sixth District who helped in Casten’s campaign. “But it didn’t just happen.
Davis’s campaign spent about nearly $4.1 million in the 2018 election cycle. In the 2016 cycle, he spent $2.4 million.
The organization that received the most of Davis’ money was Strategic Media Services. This company specializes in advertising for political candidates. Davis paid Strategic Media Services a total of $1.9 million in the 2018 election cycle.
Democratic congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois’s fifth congressional district spent over $1.2 million to win re-election in his 2018 House race against Republican challenger Tom Hanson. Quigley easily won re-election to his sixth term in Congress with almost 77 percent of the vote compared to Hanson’s 23 percent of the vote.
The FEC does not have data on Hanson’s campaign expenditures.
Despite the majority vote, Quigley’s campaign saw fundraising as its top expenditure category, with $426,021 spent, with Wrigleyville Rooftops being the top recipient for the campaign’s fundraising events. This was an increase from the 2016 cycle when the campaign spent $301,780 in the fundraising category out of a total of $822,178 spent in the cycle. This fundraising category was followed by television advertising, direct mail, transfers to national party committee, meals and beverages, mobile phones, website, polling, office fees, and campaign merchandise to round out the campaign’s top 10 expenditure categories.
The Quigley campaign has been paying Wrigleyville Rooftops to host fundraising events for the campaign at Chicago Cubs games. In the 2018 cycle, his campaign spent $31,065 on Wrigleyville Rooftops Cubs fundraising events.