Two races to represent the metro-east in the state legislature are among 10 in Illinois that have seen campaign fundraising top $1 million.
One of the costliest races in the state is between Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, and challenger Mike Babcock, a Bethalto Republican. They've raised a combined $1.6 million in campaign funds as they vie for the 56th Senate District seat, according to figures compiled by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Haine, with about $1.33 million available, has heavily outspent Babcock, whose fundraising totals about $221,000 so far.
The other metro-east race in the top 10 is between Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, and challenger Kathy Smith, an Alton Republican. They've raised a combined $944,000 in their contest for the 111th House District seat.
Beiser's fundraising has outpaced Smith's roughly 2-to-1.
Another race for a metro-east seat in the state legislature is approaching the $1 million mark in campaign funds. Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, and challenger Julie Bigham Eggers, a Republican from Columbia, have raised a combined $919,000.
Costello has raised about $542,000, while Eggers has raised about $377,000. Costello and Eggers are running for state representative in the 116th House District.
David Morrison, deputy director of ICPR, a political watchdog group, said there are two factors at play in this year's campaign fundraising for statehouse races.
"One, all 177 legislative seats are on the ballot this year, whereas half of the Senate was not running in 2010. That means there are more races that might reach $1 million, but also that donors ... have to divide their support among more candidates," Morrison said.
He added, "This is also the first race after the legislative redistricting. Not only are all incumbents running in districts with a large number of new voters who are unfamiliar with their names and records, but the redistricting produced a map widely expected to favor Democrats, meaning that it will take a larger effort by Republicans to win a majority."
Two other statehouse candidates from the metro-east have fat campaign accounts.
Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, who is the Senate majority leader, has $864,000 in his campaign fund. He held a big chunk of that, about $670,000, prior to July 1. Clayborne faces challenger Dave Barnes, a Belleville Republican, who has raised a little more than $19,000 in campaign money.
Clayborne and Barnes are running for the 57th Senate District seat.
Former state representative Jay Hoffman, a Belleville Democrat, has about $530,000 in his campaign fund. His opponent, Belleville Republican Melinda Hult, has raised about $60,000. They're running for the 113th House District seat.
Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at email@example.com or 239-2511.