By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The final reports will not be filed until July, but already the recent mayoral race in Quincy comes in as the most expensive in city history.
Challenger Kyle Moore and incumbent John Spring combined to raise more than $221,000 through March 31, nine days before Moore received 56 percent of the vote to become the first Republican elected mayor since 1981.
Quarterly reports filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections show that Spring raised nearly $117,000 from July 1, 2012, through March 31. Moore, a first-term alderman, collected $104,145 during the same period.
The two candidates combined to spend more than $195,000 during the first three months of this year. Fundraising and spending for the final nine days of the campaign will appear on the second quarter report due by July 15.
"We're in the situation where we just have more and more money spent on campaigns, whether it's the mayor of Quincy or the governor of Illinois," said Ron Michaelson, who served as the executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections for 29 years and is now a visiting assistant professor of political science at University of Illinois-Springfield.
"It is pretty clear that in every election cycle in Illinois, records are being broken."
By comparison, former Mayor Chuck Scholz spent $50,515 to win a third term in 2001.
The spending trend began to change four years later, however, when Spring defeated former Mayor C. David Nuessen in part by outspending him $107,059 to $61,285. Spring spent $99,092 in 2009 to defeat challenger David Bellis, who spent $64,514.
Larry Ehmen, former chairman of the Adams County Republican Central Committee, wasn't surprised by the amount of money for the 2013 election.
"It just appears (Spring) had a lot of access to a lot of money, and as a result of that I'm sure Kyle Moore had to try and raise as much as he could to combat that," Ehmen said.
Moore strategist Lonnie Dunn said on election night that the campaign had set a goal of raising $100,000 during the election cycle.
Campaign disclosure reports show that Spring received contributions from nearly 90 health care facilities throughout Illinois, ranging from $250 to $500 each. He also received $16,000 from the campaign committee of state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, and an additional $4,000 from that committee to pay for campaign staffers.
Other big contributors included $18,000 from labor organizations, $12,000 from other state Democratic lawmakers and $7,500 from Foresight Energy Services of St. Louis.
Spring also received $10,000 on April 4 from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's political action committee, which did not appear on this quarterly report.
Moore's campaign reported receiving $15,000 from the 18th District Republican Central Committee, $10,500 from the Adams County Central Committee, $5,000 from U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, $5,950 from Harold W. Knapheide III, $4,950 from Harold W. Knapheide IV and $4,895 from Lee Lindsay Curtis.
Most of the money was spent on intense advertising campaigns for both candidates.
Moore paid $68,327 to Springfield-based Hodas and Associates to handle his media buys, which relied heavily on direct mail, television and radio. The campaign also spent $277 on ads for a Facebook site.
Spring's campaign spent nearly $27,000 on advertising with local television and radio stations, and The Herald-Whig. The campaign also spent $39,775 with Chicago-based Snyder Pickerill Media Group and $13,656 with Macomb-based Quick Print.
Spring also mailed several direct mail pieces to targeted Quincy residents.
Moore will receive a base annual salary of $95,732 once he is sworn in May 6. He also will receive $3,500 a year to serve as the city's liquor commissioner and $900 to serve as moderator when the City Council sits as the Quincy Township Board.
The money involved in the only other contested citywide race, for city treasurer, paled by comparison.
Incumbent Democrat Peggy Crim raised $8,184.92 and spent $7,185.84 through March 31. She collected 58 percent of the vote to easily earn a fourth four-year term.
Republican challenger Tom Ernst raised $4,634 and spent $2,407.62 during the same period. Ernst was funded primarily by the Adams County Republican Central Committee. He received $2,000 from the committee through March 31, and reported another $1,500 contribution on April 3 that was not included in this quarterly report.