The fund raising reports for the candidates in Illinois' Tenth Congressional District are in, and once again, incumbent congressman Mark Kirk handily outshines the Democratic competition for this past reporting period (October 1, 2007 through January 16, 2008). Kirk's numbers as reported to the FEC are:
$493,740 in contributions
$213,534 in expenditures
$1,789,961 cash on hand
$2,320,933 raised this election cycle (including interest and other income).
See Kirk's report here.
In contrast, Democrat Dan Seals reported:
$333,041 in contibutions
$204,746 in expenditures
$627,167 cash on hand
$913,210 raised this election cycle
See Seals' report here.
Finally, Jay Footlik, the other Democratic contender who must defeat Dan Seals in the Democratic primary on February 5 to win the right to take on Kirk in the November general election reported as follows:
$133,748 in contributions
$414,415 in expenditures
$133,351 cash on hand
$422,841 raised this election cycle
See Footlik's report here.
The quick analysis of all of this is that Kirk is crushing Seals in fundraising (who appeared to have a fairly disappointing fundraising period), but in turn, Seals is pretty much crushing Footlik. Kirk has the luxury of banking his money, given the fact he has no primary opponent, and Seals is spending more money than he probably wanted to (interestingly, his report seems heavy on campaign payroll) in order to defend his presumptive front-runner status on the Dem side. Footlik, of course, is spending everything he has (and then some, it appears) on advertising to play catch up with Seals in name recognition.
So what does all of this mean? Just based on the numbers, and the polling data released so far by Seals, Seals appears to have the primary in the bag. But, stranger things have happened, and Seals could stumble within sight of the finish line, either by some scandal being revealed in the press, picking his nose in public, or perhaps the Seals voters being too complacent and not turning out for the actual vote.
Assuming Seals wins, however, he needs to seriously ramp up his fundraising to compete with Kirk. Seals lost valuable months since the last election by waiting until Jay Footlik had announced his campaign before Seals jumped in (as to why Seals delayed and what was he doing during that time period, continue to watch this space...) and now needs to play a massive game of catch up with our congressman Mark Kirk.
Seals is no doubt expecting the DCCC to ride in on a white horse and make up the millions of dollars in comparative deficit that he will appear to have based on his own lackluster fundraising effort. But, given that the Dems will be defending a large number of newly-acquired seats this year, as well as helping vulnerable veterans such as Melissa Bean, it remains to be seen if the DCCC plans to single-handedly match Kirk's impressive war chest (and then some), which will be necessary for Seals to have a hope of competing.