HOPF: Big money coming into mayoral campaign, but idea of total cost won't be available until after the election

Posted: Mar. 8, 2013 3:24 pm Updated: Apr. 19, 2013 10:15 pm


It's about a month until the April 9 election, and both Quincy Mayor John Spring and Republican challenger Kyle Moore are entering the final stretch of fundraising.

Mailers, robocalls and ads are expensive, and money is vital getting out the message, and this is the first mayoral election since the state's new campaign law that sets contribution limits went into effect.

According to the State Board of Elections, individuals can give $5,300 to a single candidate during an election cycle. Corporations and unions are capped at $10,500, and political action committees and candidate political committees can give $52,600.

Since the campaign finance reform was signed into law, it has become more difficult to see what candidates have raised leading up to an election.

While candidates are required to report contributions of $1,000 or more year-round instead of only $500 or more within 30 days of the election, they are no longer required to file contribution pre-election reports right before voters go to the polls.

Disclosure reports are now required every quarter instead of semiannually. Because semiannual reports were filed in January and July, the previous pre-election reports allowed voters -- along with candidates -- to see where any late money was coming from and how much.

That's not necessarily the case now, except for large contributions.

Moore got a jump on raising campaign last year. He had $30,313 in his campaign account at the end of the third quarter, with more than $25,000 raised in the three-month period. He received support from two potential gubernatorial candidates -- state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.

Moore raised another $9,979 in the fourth quarter.

Spring reported raising $10,010 in the third quarter of last year, giving him $18,009 at the time, and another $1,525 in the fourth quarter.

With the start of the new year, however, Spring has outpaced Moore with larger contributions, receiving more than $45,000 overall. Many of the contributions have come from state Democratic lawmaker campaign funds, including a $11,000 from the campaign account of state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville.

Spring also has received large contributions from labor unions, including $5,000 from the International Union of Operators and $3,000 from the Illinois Pipe Trades Union.

It appears to be getting more expensive to even run for mayor of Quincy.

Spring spent more than $200,000 combined in election bids in 2005 and 2009. Former Mayor C. David Nuessen and former Adams County Board member Dave Bellis spent more than $120,000 combined in their unsuccessful bids to beat Spring.

We won't know until quarterly reports are filed after the election, but if contributions continue over the next four weeks at the current clip, Spring and Moore could be on a pace to make this the costliest election in city history.