Democrats spent big money leading up to primary election in March

News-DemocratApril 17, 2014 

AP GRAPHICS

The campaigns of some local candidates in St. Clair and Madison counties spent big money leading up to the primary election in March.

In Madison County, Glen Carbon Police Chief John Lakin defeated his former boss, Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz, in the March primary despite raising and spending less money than the incumbent sheriff.

Citizens for Hertz reported receipts of $94,005 in the first quarter of 2014 and in-kind contributions of $1,300. Total expenditures, however, totaled $99,304. With funds that had been previously raised, Citizens for Hertz finished the quarter with $38,157 in the bank, but a $40,000 debt to Hertz himself. Hertz had loaned the committee $20,000 on two occasions: Feb. 11 and March 6.

Meanwhile, Citizens for John Lakin reported receipts of $72,153 in the first quarter, with in-kind contributions of $350. Expenditures totaled $64,526. With funds that previously had been raised, Citizens for John Lakin finished the quarter with $10,192 in the bank and no debt.

In St. Clair County, the Democratic primary featured several contested races, including a contest to determine the Democratic candidate for sheriff. The election also featured a referendum to fund an expansion of the county jail through an increase in the sales tax rate. The referendum failed.

The St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee, which supports local and state candidates, spent $130,884 between January and the end of March. The primary election was held March 18.

The Democratic committee spent more than $86,000 to pay local people between $200 and $2,000 a piece for "election work," according to the reports.

The Caseyville Township Precinct Committeemen Club along with 177 individuals were paid for handing out election literature and other work related to the general primary in March, according to the recently filed state reports.

To pay for the expenses, local Democrats contributed $110,700 to the Central Committee from their individual political committees.

In comparison, the county's Republican political committee only spent about $1,900 total leading up to the primary. Candidates and political committees raising or spending more than $5,000 during an election were required to file financial disclosure reports by April 15 with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Democrats spend big

The St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee spent the most of any local political committee in the three months leading up to the primary election. The committee spent nearly $131,000, and collected about $113,000 in donations in that time.

Most of the donations came from committees established to support local Democratic candidates. The highest transfer to the Central Committee came from a political committee established to support Heinz M. Rudolf's campaign to fill a judgeship in the St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Rudolf, a Democrat, transferred $24,000 to the Central Committee on March 6. He previously loaned his political committee $30,000 on Jan. 31.

Rudolf, an associate judge, faces St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, a Republican, in November to fill the vacated seat of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook. Cook, a Democrat, has been convicted of federal drug and weapon charges.

Along with other expenses, Rudolf's political committee now has $644. McGlynn's political committee made no transfers in the reporting timeframe and has $395.

Other political committees that made large contributions to the Democratic Central Committee include those supporting County Clerk Tom Holbrook ($15,000), County Assessor Jennifer Gomric Minton ($15,000), Sheriff Rick Watson ($10,000) and Congressman Bill Enyart ($10,000).

The St. Clair County Republican Central Committee spent about $1,900 and received about $4,700 in donations during the reporting timeframe. The Republican committee currently has about $6,000.

The Madison County Democratic Committee raised $42,600 in the first quarter, with $41,610 in expenditures and a final balance of $46,962. The Madison County Republican Committee raised $20,505 and in-kind contributions of $100, with expenditures of $9,848 and a final balance of $22,637.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, a Democrat, raised the most of any political committee in St. Clair County supporting an individual despite Kern not facing re-election until 2016.

Kern received more than $89,000 in donations and spent about $24,000 in the first three months of the year. Most of the expenses stemmed from $20,000 sent to a newly formed political committee Citizens for Public Safety in Favor of Sales Tax Referendum. Kern also contributed $1,276 as an individual to the political committee.

The Tax Referendum committee spent $28,094 in its failed bid to convince voters to approve a tax to expand the overcrowded county jail.

Sheriff Rick Watson's political committee spent the most of any committee supporting an individual candidacy in St. Clair County. The committee spent more than $35,000 in the months leading up to the primary election.

Incumbent Watson, of Cahokia, defeated his opponent Roy A. Mickens, of East St. Louis. Mickens did not file a financial report with the state's election board.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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