Q2 2022: General Assembly & Party Committees
Democrats hoard funds; Griffin boosts Durkin
After a lackluster start to 2022, legislative leaders reported stronger fundraising hauls in the second quarter.
Speaker Welch brought in $2.6 million, second only to Senate President Harmon’s $3.4 million. Speaker Welch’s largest contribution this quarter was a hefty $1 million transfer from the Engineers Political Education Committee (EPEC). He received another $200K from the same committee this quarter, and an additional $569K in the last quarter of 2021. Notably, the Engineers Political Education Committee is now Welch’s largest contributor (by about $719K), with $1.76 million contributed to date. Within Welch’s expenditures, printing and postage ($366K) and polling ($94K) accounted for the majority of his reported expenses. Welch’s transfers totaled almost $57K this quarter, including a $50K transfer to his wife’s campaign for judge. Welch has $10.1 million cash on hand as he enters the general election.
Senate President Harmon reported $3.4 million in contributions during the second quarter, and he currently has $15.8 million in his campaign coffers. Harmon’s largest contribution matches Speaker Welch’s down to the dollar amount: the Engineers Political Education Committee also transferred $1 million to Harmon. Harmon, again like Speaker Welch, received another $820K from the Engineers Political Education Committee this quarter too. Harmon’s largest expenditures this quarter were for events ($14K), fundraising ($6.7K), and consulting services ($15K).
The Engineers Political Education Committee (EPEC), a PAC affiliated with the International Union of Operating Engineers, has been active in Illinois politics since 2002. Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan was a frequent recipient of contributions from this PAC in the past, including an $864K transfer in late 2019. Madigan received a total of $2.8 million from EPEC between 2010 and 2019, constituting his campaign’s second largest donor overall. All of EPEC’s other contributions in 2020 and 2021 were within Illinois’ contribution limits; their $569K transfer to Speaker Welch in late 2021 was the first to buck this trend. We’ll keep an eye on the Engineers Political Education Committee as the general election approaches.
It comes as no surprise that Speaker Welch and President Harmon retained their fundraising edge over their Republican counterparts this quarter: Welch took in roughly 1.9 times what Durkin earned, and Harmon outraised McConchie by a roughly 5:1 ratio.
Leader McConchie raised $672K this quarter, including a $133K donation from billionaire Dick Uihlein. This is roughly on par with McConchie’s numbers in the last quarter of 2021, and is a significant jump from the meager $56K he raised last quarter. McConchie also reported just over $406K in transfers, the largest of which ($275K) went to the Senate Republican Victory Fund. McConchie entered the third quarter with $1.6 million cash on hand.
House Minority Leader Durkin reported $1.4 million in contributions during the second quarter. His largest donation was $1 million (about 70% of his total) from none other than billionaire Ken Griffin. Much like Leader McConchie, Durkin’s largest expenditures this quarter were transfers: $350K and $50K to the House Republican Majority in May, and another $250K in June. Durkin raised an additional $144K in the first few weeks of July, leaving him with $1.4 million in his campaign account ahead of the general election.
Durkin blows his caps –- again
As we reported last quarter, Leader Durkin finally joined the ranks of his fellow legislative leaders –– none of whom are currently subject to contribution limits –– after a national Republican PAC blew his contribution caps by reporting over $100K on independent expenditures supporting his campaign.
All the other legislative leaders loaned themselves the triggering amount for Illinois’ “millionaire’s exemption” or “self-funding loophole,” and their contribution caps will stay off for the duration of the current election cycle, which ends on December 31. Candidates who reach the self-funding threshold before the primary via independent expenditures –– like Leader Durkin –– see contribution caps reinstated for the general election. In Durkin’s case, caps snapped back on after the June 28th primary election.
As for former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the second quarter of 2022 was another quiet quarter for his campaign committee. Madigan reported just $15K in expenditures this quarter, the largest of which was a nominal sum for legal expenses ($1.2K). He has $6.4 million left in his campaign coffers.
Surprise upsets for party favorites
We focused on a few of the most competitive races and surprising outcomes, where the best fundraiser didn’t always prevail at the polls.
House District 13: Party heavyweights lose
The most stunning win among the House races was in the Democratic primary for the 13th District, where political newcomer and community leader Hoan Huynh beat Pritzker-backed clinical social worker Eileen Dordek. The 13th District seat is currently held by Illinois Majority Leader Greg Harris, who announced his retirement last year.
Dordek was an early favorite in this race due to her extensive endorsements (including sitting Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Senator Durbin) and her lead in the money race, having raised $227K last quarter and $103K this quarter. Dordek’s largest overall donors were Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law ($11K) and Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE ($10K). She received an additional $5K from JB for Governor. Hoan Huynh trailed Dordek significantly in fundraising in both quarters, with a $39K haul in the first quarter and just under $72K in the second. Hunyh’s largest donors included Friends of Theresa Mah, run by State Rep. Mah ($57K); as well as Asian American Midwest Progressives ($11.7K) and Athena Design Group ($11.5K).
Apart from Huynh and Dordek, three other candidates ran for the 13th District nomination: Sergio Mojica, Andrew ‘Andy’ Peters, and Joseph Struck. Mojica raised $41K this quarter, including a $2K contribution from Chuy Garcia for Congress; Peters reported raising $40K and gave himself $17.5K; and Struck received $4.5K total, $2.5K of which was her own personal money.
House District 16: Incumbent Stoneback falls despite party support
Incumbent Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback was defeated by challenger and law student Kevin Olickal for the Democratic nomination, despite her significant party support. Stoneback raised $168K this quarter, exceeding her first quarter total more than tenfold. Some of Stoneback’s largest donors included Democrats for the Illinois House ($36K), People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch ($44K), and Friends of Kelly M Burke ($30K). The vast majority of her $174K in expenditures were spent on digital advertising.
Primary-winner Olickal had a similarly successful second quarter: he received $190K in contributions, a huge tick upward from the previous quarter, when he raised $26K. Olickal’s largest contributions this quarter included a $59.9K transfer from LiUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council PAC, as well as $30K total in transfers from Friends of Ram, the campaign committee for State Sen. Ram Villivalam. Olickal spent a total of $201K this quarter, with large payments going towards mailing expenses.
House District 90: Labor backing wasn’t enough to put Szula over the edge
Incumbent Rep. Tom Demmer announced his run for State Treasurer in January, leaving his seat open. Roscoe Village President Mark Szula and former District 68 State Rep. John M. Cabello vied to replace him.
Szula consistently led in the money race. This quarter, he took in an impressive sum of almost $306K, up $115K from last quarter. 94% of Szula’s fundraising this quarter came from PAC transfers, including a $59.9K transfer from the Engineers Political Education Committee Separate Education Fund, a $49.5K transfer from the Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC, and $39.9K in transfers from the IBEW Local 364 Political Action Fund. He spent just shy of $466K, a sum 16 times what he spent last quarter, $356K of which went towards media costs.
Cabello brought in $179K this quarter, more than three times what he brought in last quarter. His top contributions included $59K from Rep. Tim Ozinga, a $20K donation from the Realtors Political Action Committee, and $10K from former Rep. Jeanne Ives’ policy and education organization Breakthrough Ideas. As for expenditures, he spent a total of $205K, over 13 times what he spent last quarter. The majority of these funds ultimately went towards advertising. Despite receiving and spending fewer dollars, Cabello beat Szula by 48 points.
House District 93: Weaver wins with less
Booted out due to redistricting, Rep. Norine Hammond is seeking reelection in the 94th District. This cycle, two Republican contenders competed to fill her seat: current Perkin mayor and 91st District Rep. Mark Luft, who was also affected by redistricting, and Travis Weaver, the son of former Republican state senator Chuck Weaver.
Luft maintained a steady fundraising and spending lead throughout the race. This quarter, he took in $365K, up by over $300K from the last one. His top contributions included $59K in transfers from Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, a $50K transfer from the Illinois PAC for Education (I.P.A.C.E.), and over $37K in transfers from the IBEW Illinois PAC. As for expenditures, Luft spent $371K, 87% of which he allocated towards advertising.
Weaver took in almost $147K this quarter, 60% less in contributions than his opponent and over $27K less than he did the quarter before. This sum, however, notably consists of more than four times the amount of individual itemized contributions that Luft received. Weaver’s top contributions included a $20K transfer from Rep. Win Stoller and a $8K donation from Water Street Advisory Inc., a Peoria farming company. He spent $256K, 31% less than his opponent, 64% of which went towards advertising. Despite consistently lagging behind Luft in contributions and expenditures, Weaver won with an impressive 27 point lead.
Of the nine senate primary races that had more than one candidate on the ballot, only a handful were financially competitive. We chose to cover two of these races –– the 16th and 31st District –– because both featured open seats.
Senate District 16: Preston wins despite raising 1/4 of what his opponent earned
In the 16th District, incumbent Senator Jacqueline Collins chose not to seek reelection and instead ran unsuccessfully to represent Illinois’ 1st Congressional District. Two Democratic candidates who raised a combined total of $237K vied to fill her seat: Lamont Williams, Chief of Staff and General Counsel to Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry, and Willie Preston, a community leader and business owner. While the fundraising trends pointed toward a likely winner, this race’s outcome made one thing certain: sometimes, victory can’t be bought.
Williams raised just under $171K this quarter, including contributions from several union PACs: a $25K donation from the Carpentry Advancement PAC Fund, a $20K donation from SEIU Healthcare IL, and a $18.8K donation from the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Unlike last quarter in which he spent almost nothing, Williams spent $178K over the last three months, spending $160K on mailings.
Preston took in just under $38K this quarter. His top donors, Meditech Medical Billing and Consulting and Cheryl Uremovich, wife of the President of Manhattan Mechanical Services, both donated $10K and account for over half his contributions. After spending $0 last quarter, Preston put $39K toward expenditures this time around –– $139K less than his opponent!
Despite his major spending gap, Preston secured the Democratic nomination with a 3.7% lead and will go on to the general election unopposed.
Senate District 31: Pritzker, Bush, and labor propel Edly-Allen to victory over Yingling
Unlike most senate races this cycle, the 31st District’s Democratic primary featured candidates with neck-and-neck spending. Current state Senator Melinda Bush, one of the state’s most active legislators, is retiring and did not seek re-election. Two Democratic contenders fought to claim her seat: former 51st District state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen and current 62nd District state Rep. Sam Yingling. With a combined total of over $1 million spent between both candidates and party heavyweights betting against an incumbent, this primary race made waves throughout the Democratic establishment.
Mary Edly-Allen, boosted by endorsements from Senator Bush and Governor Pritzker, raised $437K this quarter. Her top contributors consisted of several union and labor PACs, including the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee, LiUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council PAC, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE, all of whom transferred $59.9K to her campaign in May. She also received substantial support from the campaign committees of Governor Pritzker ($55K) and 18th District State Senator Bill Cunningham ($50K). Edly-Allen reported just shy of $408K in expenditures, about $194K of which went towards ads.
Yingling, backed by a host of Illinois state representatives including District 61’s Joyce Mason, District 60’s Rita Mayfield, and District 59’s Dan Didech, took in $192K this quarter. His top contributors included Rep. Mason, who transferred a total of $50K to his campaign account; Rep. Didech, who transferred $30K in late June; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 705, which transferred a total of $25K. In the final two weeks before the election, the Illinois Realtors Fund spent about $142K on independent expenditures in his favor. Yingling also spent $301K himself, with over $250K paid out to BOCA Media Group this quarter.
Despite having about $35K more in supporting expenditures than Edly-Allen, Yingling ultimately lost the race by a 10% margin. Having secured the Democratic nomination, Edly-Allen will go on to face Republican Adam Solano, author and financial advisor at Lakeside Financial Group, in the general election.
Democratic Party Committees
DPI benefits from Pritzker’s largesse (sort of)
Speaker Welch’s Democrats for the Illinois House had another slow quarter, raising $207K and spending $1.1 million, with $3.5 million available to spend in the lead-up to the general election. The committee’s expenditures ticked up significantly this quarter: $712K went to The Dover Group for printing expenses for House Democrats in competitive primaries. Reps. Mike Kelly, Lindsay LaPointe, Denyse Wang Stoneback, Michael Zalewski, Kathleen Willis, and Curtis Tarver II were among those listed as beneficiaries of these printing expenses.
ISDF, the Democratic Senate caucus committee controlled by President Harmon, reported just $357K in contributions this quarter, down from $478K last quarter. Like its counterpart in the House, ISDF reported higher expenditures this quarter too: $374K went to research-related expenses, and another $110K went to printing expenses for incumbent Sen. Rob Martwick’s primary race. ISDF entered the third quarter with $1.4 million in the bank.
The Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) raised $1.7 million this quarter compared to $350K last quarter. Almost all of that was bankrolled by Governor Pritzker, who transferred $1.5 million to the committee. Much of it was returned, however, when DPI spent $1.1 million on mailings in support of the governor. With those pricey expenditures, the committee ended the quarter with about as much cash on hand ($2.8 million) as last quarter.
Republican Party Committees
Still dwarfed by their Democratic counterparts, but made gains all around
The House Republican Organization saw increases in both fundraising and spending from last quarter. This quarter, the committee raised $48K and spent $60K, up from $13K and $5K respectively last quarter. The House Republican Organization’s largest contribution was a $20K donation from Illinois Risk Management Solutions, a Chicago-based insurance broker. The committee also transferred $59.9K to Citizens to Change Illinois, a Republican PAC. The House Republican Organization began the third quarter with $242K in its campaign coffers.
The Senate Republican Victory Fund made huge gains in fundraising this quarter, collecting $628K versus $257K last quarter. Transfers from other committees accounted for the vast majority of the Senate Republican Victory Fund’s reported fundraising this quarter; the largest was a $275K transfer from Leader McConchie. The committee also increased its expenditures, up to $651K from $432K, and transferred $91K to the Illinois Republican Party.
Following the same trend as the other Republican committees, the Illinois Republican Party improved significantly over the first quarter of the year. The party committee logged $464K in contributions and $371K in expenditures, substantially more than last quarter’s $55K haul and $59K expenses. Transfers from other committees made up the bulk of the Illinois Republican Party’s fundraising this quarter, with the House Republican Majority transferring $275K. After an expensive quarter, the Illinois Republican Party has $416K cash on hand.