GOP heavy-hitters supporting Lauf against Democrat Foster -- but is it enough?
But Foster still has huge money lead
With Election Day only three weeks away, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville has significantly more money for final ads or polls than Republican challenger Catalina Lauf of Woodstock, documents show.
Lauf received some support last quarter from the national GOP and several prominent lawmakers in her party, including House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. But Foster's campaign entered October with nearly $4.2 million in the bank for the 11th District showdown -- far more than the $187,350 Lauf reported.
"That is a huge advantage," said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Congressional campaigns must file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once they collect or spend at least $5,000. The latest reports, detailing fundraising and spending between July 1 and Sept. 30, were due this past Saturday and are viewable at fec.gov.
The Bill Foster for Congress committee started July with more than $4.9 million saved, and it reported netting about $950,549 during the quarter.
More than $625,351 came from individuals, $2,395 came from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as in-kind donations and $317,601 came from political action committees representing special interests.
Foster, a member of the House financial services committee, received at least $116,000 from companies and groups in the banking, insurance and investment industries during the quarter, including:
• $2,500 from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
• $2,000 from Morgan Stanley.
• $5,000 from Bank of America.
• $2,500 from Experian.
Other Foster supporters included Planned Parenthood, which gave $2,500, and Amazon, which gave $1,000. Foster received thousands of dollars from various labor unions, too.
"Our campaign fundraising has been robust throughout this election cycle, and this quarter is no exception," campaign manager Dovile Svirupskaite said in a news release. "Thanks to our broad-based, record-setting support, we'll be able to finish this race strong."
Team Foster spent more than $1.7 million during the quarter on consulting, payroll, advertisements and other expenses. That sum includes nearly $6,893 given to other candidates or political groups.
The campaign ended September with about $1 million in old debts to Foster.
The Lauf campaign has a pair of committees, Catalina for Congress and Lauf for IL-11. Catalina for Congress is the campaign's primary committee, records indicate; the other group had been the Take Back IL-11 Republican Nominee Fund but changed its name in August, documents show. It sent nearly all its cash to the main committee in September.
Lauf's campaign started the quarter with less than $25,924 in the bank. It received about $733,216 during the period.
Of that sum, $437,822 came from individuals, about $175,886 came as transfers from other committees, $5,000 came from the National Republican Congressional Committee and $44,625 came from political action committees, including:
• $5,000 from McCarthy's Majority Committee PAC.
• $1,000 from downstate U.S. Rep. Mary Miller's Faith in America PAC.
• $2,000 from downstate U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood's campaign committee and $5,000 from his Abraham Lincoln PAC.
• $2,000 from the campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and $5,000 from his Eye of the Tiger PAC.
Lauf also received $102,617 from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's 25 for 22 Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee supporting conservative candidates.
Those donations show national support and should help Lauf raise money from individuals and political committees, Redfield said.
To bridge the financial gap between her campaign and Foster's, Lauf needs support from super PACs and other outside groups that aren't subjected to contribution limits, Redfield said.
The Lauf campaign spent about $294,749 during the quarter on consulting, travel, ads and other operating expenses, records show. It also gave $210,000 to the Illinois Republican Party.
Team Lauf reported no debts. Neither Lauf nor a spokesman responded to requests for comment.
Redrawn for this election, the 11th District encompasses parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.
Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting has begun.