Illinois Senate Race: Big Bucks vs. the Long Shot

By Emily Gray Brosious
Originally published at The Red Line Project
Sept. 2, 2014

Graph made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org
Graph made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org

The Illinois U.S. Senate race hasn’t picked up much steam heading toward November, but incumbent Dick Durbin (D) has momentum where it counts — the bank.

Durbin (D) has raised and spent more — a lot more — than rival state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove). Durbin is largely favored to win re-election, experts and early polls indicate.

“Oberweis is a longshot,” said Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics and Arthur Rubloff Professor of Policy Studies at Roosevelt University. “This race is being overwhelmed by the governor’s race, so Oberweis is a real longshot.”

Durbin’s campaign reported raising nearly $10 million and spending more than $4.5 million from January through July, according toOpenSecrets at The Center for Responsive Politics. During the same period, Oberweis reported raising about $1.5 million and spending $570,000.

The bulk of Durbin’s total campaign funding — nearly 60 percent— came from large individual donors. Approximately 25 percent came from PACs and 10 percent from small individual donors, according to OpenSecrets.

Nearly 70 percent of Oberweis’ funding came from personal contributions, according to OpenSecrets. Around 28 percent came from large individual contributors.

“It would be hard for Oberweis to mount a successful campaign,” said Dick Simpson, UIC political science professor and former 44th Ward alderman. “He might be able to ride the coattails of Rauner’s Republican bid, but not likely.”

Made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org
Made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org
Chart made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org
Chart made with Datawrapper. Data from OpenSecrets.org
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This Data/Chicago project made possible by
journalism grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation

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