(Springfield, IL) – July 9, 2010. Wow.
State Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Chenoa), who is running for Illinois Treasurer, last night filed his campaign finance report, with an eyeball popping $1,078,000 cash on hand.
The report shows Rutherford, a conservative downstate Republican, raised $687,000 from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. For a down-ballot, low-profile constitutional office, like Treasurer, Rutherford has managed an impressive fund-raising performance. No doubt.
As part of the $1 million cash-on-hand, Rutherford, who serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Financial Institutions Committee, made a $200,000 personal loan to his campaign for “pledges made and cash not yet received.”
“The support for our effort is broad and deep,” said Rutherford. “We have a total of 22,467 contributors … 818 of whom are first time contributors this year.”
Rutherford, who is running against Democrat Robin Kelly, chief of staff to the current Treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias, had a marathon of fundraising events the first half of the year and has dozens more fundraisers planned before the election.
“Being a fiscal conservative, not born of political or financial privilege, in a solidly Blue State, I knew we would have an uphill battle,” Rutherford said. “What I did not know was how much support and encouragement we would get from Democrats and Independents.”
Kelly, a former state representative who spent a pile of dough fending off a primary challenge, reported only $81,000 in January. Her fund-raising totals for the period ending June 30 were not immediately available.
In addition to leading Kelly in the money chase, Rutherford is also leading Kelly in a recent poll, which surveyed voters this spring, 39% to 36%. Rutherford’s edge is coming from his big lead among Independents, 39% to 24%.
In a solidly Democratic state, it is impossible to count out Kelly who would be the first female African-American state constitutional officer were she to win. But Rutherford currently has the edge. Momentum, money, and the national political environment are moving in the veteran lawmaker’s favor.
Still, there 115 days until election day. An eternity in politics.
Both Rutherford and Kelly have yet many hands to squeeze, babies to peck, and rubber chickens to consume before the race is over.