Report: Cloonen war chest tops $500,000, much of it union money
A half a million dollars can buy a lot of things -- a house, a few cars, a lot of nice vacations. But it's also an amount that can get sunk into a political campaign.
Budgets involving politics can sometimes raise conversations, but in the state of Illinois, these types of political budgets involving politics are a particular point to note. An article in the Chicago Tribune said that during times when there is a race for electoral positions, high-stakes campaign donations and spending impact state races.
State Rep. Katherine "Kate" Cloonen (D-Dist. 79) had more than $500,000 contributed to her campaign -- a vast difference to the more modest amount of a little less than $30,000 when her campaign started. Cloonen's district includes areas near Peotone, Steger, Monee, University Park and Crete.
Ed Ronkowski, chairman of the Will County Republican Party, said House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Dist. 22) is behind the influx of cash into the Democrat's coffers.
"(Cloonen) does exactly what Madigan tells her to do," Ronkowski told the Chicago Tribune. "When Madigan authorizes money for a campaign, he asks people to vote a certain way. Republicans don't do it that way."
Ronkowski notes that Democrats have the edge on the district map.
"Since Madigan drew the map, Democrats have a large majority of districts," Ronkowski said in the article. "When that happens, you're going to have anywhere from two to 12 districts that could go either way. When you've got an election that was decided by less than 200 votes, I'm sure Republicans will finance that campaign adequately."
Cloonen's Republican challenger, attorney Lindsay Parkhurst, also of Kankakee, said she was up to the challenge of facing a well-funded opponent, the article said.
"I'm ready for battle," Parkhurst told the Chicago Tribune. "I want to see change for the district and for the state of Illinois."
Parkhurst's campaign filed organizational paperwork on Jan. 22 and hasn't yet reported any donations.
"I've never run for public office before," Parkhurst said in the article.
The Chicago Tribune said a campaign war chest of $100,000 to $200,000 is modest these days for elected officials, especially at the federal level, and it's seen as the cost of doing business. Candidates have to pay for printing and sending mailers to voters, TV ads, paying staff and political consultants, and everything else from food and entertainment to office supplies. It can all add up.
The article said that for Cloonen, her campaign itemized $429,404 in transfers between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, and another $79,350 in individual contributions. The fund transfers detail substantial sums from labor unions.
Organizations in this Story
1 Dearborn Square
Kankakee, IL 60901