Metro East Area News Briefs

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Jerry Costello II
(Photo courtesy of Jerry Costello II via Facebook)

David Friess
(Photo courtesy of David Friess for State Representative)

Six multimillion-dollar legislative races on Metro East ballots

As the Nov. 6 general election approaches, Metro East continues to claim three of the 10 most expensive races for the Illinois General Assembly this year, according to as the campaign finance tracking website, Illinois Sunshine (

In the 48th State Senate District, some $3,019,421.11 will be spent on the race between incumbent Democrat Andy Manar and Republican challenger Seth McMillan. The Manar campaign has raised $2,794,609.02. The McMIllan campaign has garnered just $76,507.54. Manar will also benefit from $43,270.95 in independent supporting expenditures. McMIllan enjoys $85,033.60 in independent support but faces $20,000 in independent opposition efforts.

The 48th District race is the second most contested State Senate race in Illinois as the election approaches, and the third most contested General Assembly race, according to Illinois Sunshine.

In the 50th State Senate District, Republican Steve McClure is running unopposed for the district’ s open seat with $95,113.68 in his campaign treasury.

In the 54th State Senate District, Republican Jason Plummer and Democrat Brian Stout have raised a total of $577,540.84, in their battle for the district’s open seat.  Plumber has raised $329,152.23 and will also benefit from $116,414.80 in independent support. Stout has raised just $12,390.

In the 56th State Senate District, Democrat Rachelle Aud Crowe and Republican write-in candidate Hal Patton will expend a total of $1,506,893.47 in their race for the district’s open seat. Aud Crowe has raised $1,437,008.12. Patton has $69,885.35, according to filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE).

In the open 57th State Senate District, Democrat Christopher Belt has $373,239.08 in his campaign treasury. Republican Tanya Hildenbrand has just $23,089.32.

The 116th District contest for the Illinois House of Representative — pitting incumbent Democrat Jerry Costello II against Republican David Friess — has emerged over recent weeks as the second most expensive house race in the state this year and the fifth most expensive state legislative race overall.  In all, at least $2,812,654.34 will be spent on the 116th District contest.  The Costello campaign has raised $2,100,233.97 – roughly three times the $709,893.68 raised by the Friess campaign. Costello must counter $2,526.69 in independent opposition spending.

The 111th State House District contest between Democratic incumbent Monica Bristow and Republican challenger Mike Babcock has become an expensive State House race  as well as the election approaches. and the eighth most expensive state legislative race overall. In total the two candidates have raised $2,532,778.32 in campaign funding.  Bristow has $1,814,075.18; Babcock, $718,703.14.

In the 95th State House District, the race between incumbent Republican Avery Bourne and Democratic challenger Dillon Clark is so far costing a modest $211,163.61. Bourne has $140,201.88 in her campaign treasury. Clark has raised $70,961.73.

In the 112th State House District, a total of at least $2,043,546.23 will be spent on the race between incumbent Democrat Katie Stuart and Republican Dwight D. Kay. Stuart has $1,265,624.14 in her campaign treasury as the election approaches. Kay has $718,703.14.

Stuart stands to benefit from $11,460.38 in independent expenditures on her behalf. However, the Kay campaign will be bolstered by a substantial $236,365.04 in independent supporting expenditures.  Independent opponent groups have so far reported $5,992.71 in funding to oppose Kay.

In the 113th House District, incumbent Democrat Jay Hoffman and Republican Doug Jameson have raised a total of $1,650,041.85. However, Hoffman has raised $1,611,271.65 to Jameson’s $38,770.20.

In the 114th House District, Democratic incumbent LaToya N. Greenwood has raised $174,130.92 in campaign contributions. Republican Jason Madlock reports no campaign funding as the election approaches.

In the 108th State House District, incumbent Democrat Charles Meier is unopposed but still has raised $491,632.86 in contributions.  Independent opposition groups are spending $3,040.69 in the district.

Final pre-election campaign finance reports covering the third quarter of the year were due to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Oct. 15.

J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner

Pritzker leads poll, Rauner takes aim at McCann

St. Clair Democratic Party leaders are hoping their early endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial J.B. Pritzker of Chicago will pay off for Metro East following the Nov. 6 general election.

Pritzker garnered support from 49 percent of registered voters in a Sept. 24-29 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of Chicago is running second with 27 percent, according to the poll.

Retiring Republican 50th District State Senator Sam McCann — running for governor on the Conservative Party Ticket — and Libertarian Grayson “Kash” Jackson trail the field with 4 percent, each. Seventeen percent of voters were still undecided as then poll was conducted.

Thanks in large part to substantial self-funding, Pritzker also has the largest campaign treasury, with $164,970,064.27, according to the campaign finance tracking website, Illinois Sunshine. Rauner has $79,410,608.78.

McCann has $3,590,526.54 and Jackson, $24,868.93.

Rauner last month accused McCann — who is backed by labor unions associated with Democratic Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan —of running a stalking horse campaign to siphon off his support.  McCann brushes off the charge, accusing Rauner of “buying” his support within the state Republican party.

Both Rauner and Pritzker are multimillionaire bond traders.

St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee on May 7, 2017 became one of the first Democratic county organizations in the state to endorse Pritzker.

If elected, Pritzker plans a major statewide infrastructure bond issues which could potentially benefit Metro East, according to some speakers at a joint economic development forum, held last month in St. Louis by the Missouri and Illinois chambers of commerce.

Democrat pursues GOP’s “safe” 15th District seat

Incumbent Republican 15th District U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville is considered a “safe” bet for re-election, according to the widely-cited website, Real Clear Politics ( However, that is not due to lack of effort by Democratic challenger Kevin Gaither of Charleston.

Shimkus made one of his few public appearances of the 2018 election cycle at a Taxpayer Revolt rally, Oct. 24 in Caseyville. With a November victory generally considered to be well-in-hand, Shimkus has been keeping low profile; making few appearances at local events and giving few interviews. On his Facebook page, Shimkus says he has spent recent days campaigning door-to-door in the Collinsville-area sections of the 12th Congressional District on behalf of fellow Republican Mike Bost.

Meanwhile, Gaither says he has been actively attending town hall meetings and candidate “meet ‘n greets” throughout the 15th District. An Oct. 30 candidate forum at Greenville College, a GOTV cable television interview the same day in Coles County, a Nov. 1 Mulberry Grove Town Hall Meeting, and Nov. 3 appearances at a labor rally and a Moose Family Center in Centralia were all on Gaither’s schedule as the election approaches.

Recent weeks have seen him at a Vandalia Halloween celebration, a Hardin County fundraiser, and a parade in Louisville.  

The 15th District has seen virtually no face-to-ace meetings of its two congressional candidates.

In final pre-election filings with the Federal Election Commission, Shimkus reports total campaign receipts of $1,890,067.19; with total disbursements of $1,567,978.53, and a balance of $1,158,378.38 with no debt.

The Gaither campaign reports total receipts $43,818.72 and total expenditures of $40,015.34, with $3,803.38 in cash on hand and no debt.

Neither Shimkus nor Gaither list endorsements on their websites. Neither have released polling data.



–Metro East Area News Briefs–