Race for Illinois Senate Seat Shows Wide Disparity in Fundraising

July 21, 2010

The Republican pursuing an East Central Illinois Senate seat may only have $50 left in his campaign fund, but he says that hasn't slowed down what he calls a grassroots campaign.

Campaign disclosure reports filed Tuesday showed Tea Party organizer Al Reynolds spent about $8,000 dollars thus far, while Democratic incumbent Mike Frerichs spent more than $50,000. And the 52nd District Senator still has more than $200,000 available. Reynolds says he's just starting to approach businesses to seek out donations to help with campaign ads and mailings, but wants to focus on the issues. "(Congressman) Tim Johnson and his campaign last time... he raised under $300,000 for a US-Rep seat," said Reynolds. "And so I'm thinking for a state senator, we shouldn't have to raise that kind of money. The issues alone should speak for what we do here. And basically, it's my getting out in front of people, and telling them what it is."

Reynolds says amassing a huge campaign fund also goes against the tea party's stance of wasteful spending, and has gotten out his campaign message in rallies. Senator Frerichs says he's focused on doing a lot of fundraising on his own. "I think in any election, you can't take your opponent for granted, and especially this year when there seems to be a lot of voter frustration," said Frerichs. "It's frustration I share with the direction the state's going." Frerichs also says he'd like to rely on money he raised, and not the state Democratic party, to maintain independence in the race. Reynolds says state Republican campaign funds would be nice, but suspects it's too early for Illinois GOP leaders to decide whether they'll get involved in his campaign.

Story source: AP