NEWS

Schock raises more than $350,000 in three months

Karen McDonald

Four of the top 10 congressional campaign fundraisers in the nation for the third quarter are running for open seats in Illinois.

Congressional Quarterly Politics is reporting state Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, as ninth in the country for raising $376,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to campaign disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. He is seeking, along with Jim McConoughey and John Morris, the 18th District Republican nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, who is retiring in 2009.

The list only took into account contests in which the incumbent is not running. In the 18th District, candidates have said it will take about $1.5 million to $2 million to run a successful campaign.

"The strong fundraising I believe shows well for my campaign both for dollars necessary to communicate to the voters as well as show I have a broad base of support throughout the 20 counties," Schock said, adding more than 80 percent of his money raised was within the district.

Schock gave $50,000 of his own money to the campaign, but even without that, he still would have made the top 10 list.

By comparison, Morris, former vice president for development for WTVP-TV, Channel 47, raised about $218,210, and McConoughey raised $53,000 in the same reporting period. Both Morris and McConoughey officially announced their intentions to run after Schock, with McConoughey’s announcement coming a month later.

The other three Illinoisans on the list are running in the crowded 14th District to succeed Republican Dennis Hastert — the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House — who recently announced he is retiring likely before Jan. 1. A special election will be held for the district, which includes parts of northern Illinois, to whittle the field from four Republicans and four Democrats.

Republican Sen. Chris Lauzen came in at number three with $546,000 raised; Democrat Bill Foster raised $541,000, putting him in fourth place; and Republican Jim Oberweis raised $422,000, putting him in eighth place, according to CQ Quarterly.

Other top congressional fundraisers rounding out the list are from Colorado, Maine, Ohio and New Mexico, with the highest raised at $828,000, according to the report.

The next reporting period is in January. With heavy fundraising efforts underway for more than two months already, numbers again are expected to be high in the 18th District.

"Running in 20 counties is very expensive, so fundraising remains one of my top priorities as a candidate and we’re going to continue to (raise funds) like the frontrunner and work hard like the underdog," Schock said.

Karen McDonald can be reached at (309) 686-3285 or kmcdonald@pjstar.com.