Metro-East News

Rodger Cook has $348 in his campaign account, so he’s hoping to reach you on YouTube

Rodger Cook
Rodger Cook

Behind in fundraising, and without the financial ability to buy airtime on local television, Rodger Cook, the Republican nominee for St. Clair County Board chairman has taken to posting videos on YouTube, and other social media, to promote his campaign.

Cook is challenging three-term incumbent Mark Kern, a Democrat, who had about $19,000 in the campaign account after the third quarter of the year, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Kern’s campaign had more than $160,000 in expenditures, state records show.

Cook had $348 in the campaign bank account after the third quarter, the state board of elections said. He raised $6,200 in the third quarter, and his campaign spent more than $6,000.

He has only spent money on signs, literature, gas for his truck and a repair to his campaign vehicle, he said.

“I don’t have money; you can’t raise money against the machine,” Cook said. “We’ve done the best we can, with the money we got.”

I don’t have money; you can’t raise money against the machine. We’ve done the best we can, with the money we got.

Rodger Cook, Republican nominee for St. Clair County Board chairman

Kern has been able to buy time on local television stations, as well as cable channels, to promote his message about the importance of MidAmerica Airport and Scott Air Force Base, and improvement of levees and infrastructure projects around the county, including around the riverfront. His numerous ad buys have been 30-second spots.

In the third quarter alone, Kern spent more than $100,000 on television advertising airtime and $1,800 on media production, according to state board of election records.

Two of Kern’s commercials, which have been airing on television since September, were posted to his Twitter and Facebook accounts on Thursday. A third Kern commercial was posted Friday.

The Cook videos, which were promoted via social media such as Twitter and Facebook and posted under the “Right For Cahokia” YouTube account, which has a St. Clair County Freedom Coalition logo, were recorded in front of MidAmerica Airport and the St. Clair County Courthouse.

Cook said the videos were shot, edited and posted by volunteers, and did not cost any money.

He also said the release of videos, which were filmed about a month ago, was intended for within a week of the election.

“The plan was to get them out at the end of the campaign to talk about issues,” Cook said.

The more than 10 posted videos range from 38 seconds to 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

Topics of the Cook videos include government waste, crime, public safety, property taxes, his time as mayor of Belleville, the St. Clair County Public Building Commission, and Scott Air Force Base.

He ends the videos with, “I’m Rodger Cook and I approve this message.”

Also posted in recent days are excerpts of interviews of Cook by local radio host, and candidate for State Rep. Bob Romanik.

Kern said he has not seen the videos online.

I really haven’t (seen them). We’ve been operating our election, and we’ve been knocking on a lot of doors and talking to a lot of people. It’s really been a neighborhoods campaign, and we think we really enjoy that and enjoy meeting with the public.

Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board chairman, and a Democrat

“I really haven’t (seen them),” Kern said. “We’ve been operating our election, and we’ve been knocking on a lot of doors and talking to a lot of people. It’s really been a neighborhoods campaign we think, we really enjoy that and enjoy meeting with the public.”

Being the incumbent, Kern also has the advantage of holding events to celebrate the beginning of large projects, such as the reconstruction of Front Street in East St. Louis, which officials believe will help open up several hundred acres for development. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Tuesday, a week before the Nov. 8 election.

Kern said the election did not play a role in the scheduling of the event.

“We’ve been working on this project for about three years now,” Kern said. “The timing is we want to get under construction; we’ve got some good weather right. We’ve got a contractor who’s anxious. We’ve got a good bid that came in because of the time of year we bid it ... This came in half a million dollars under budget because of the time of year the project was bid. The reason we’re here today is the contractor wants to get moving on the project, and we want him to get moving because we’ve got a phase two that’s going to be issued pretty soon after.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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