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updated: 10/28/2010 6:49 PM

Spending in 66 House race approaches $1 million

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  • Mark Walker

    Mark Walker

  • David Harris

    David Harris

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Money is flowing into the hotly contested race for Illinois House District 66 between first-term Democrat Mark Walker and Republican David Harris, with spending on the race nearing the million dollar mark.

More than $860,000 in itemized contributions was reported by Tuesday, Oct. 26, with the biggest chunks coming from political parties and their affiliates.

The Democratic Party has given Walker's campaign $306,000, while Republicans have put $215,000 into Harris' coffers. Both candidates live in Arlington Heights.

Walker declared receiving $564,711 in itemized contributions through Oct. 26, while Harris reported $294,252.

Harris said his campaign is spending money on mailers and cable television. The Republican candidate said the funding discrepancy does not worry him.

"Campaigns are not about money; campaigns are about issues. He can spend a lot of money and send out negative mailers and attack me on the air waves, but the state is in financial distress," he said.

Steve Brown, spokesman for Michael Madigan, chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, said

Walker, who won in a Democratic year in what had traditionally been a Republican district, has a good chance of winning again because he has a great record.

Besides the party money, Walker has also received $122,000 from political action committees, including $50,000 from an Oregon-based group with a new Illinois affiliate called Stand for Children. Its materials say it is working to improve Illinois students' performance in public schools.

The group has contributed to eight Illinois candidates, which it said it selected after interviewing 35. These are from both parties, and contributions include $175,000 to Republican Ryan Higgins, candidate for the 56th House district from Schaumburg; $100,000 for Steve Rauschenberger, Elgin Republican running the 22nd Senate seat; and $50,000 for Keith Farnham, Elgin Democrat in the race for House 43rd.

The Health Care Council of Illinois, which represents long-term care facilities and nursing homes, has also contributed $46,000 to Walker.

Walker couldn't be reached for comment by deadline.

Harris' campaign has received $25,000 from Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager and founder of Citadel Investment Group in Chicago.

Harris said he had never met Griffin but got a call from him saying he does not do business with the state but believes in Harris' policies.

A political action committee called Two Party System has contributed $6,000 to his campaign. That organization's website says it opposes a one-party system, machine politics and special interests.