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updated: 1/3/2012 8:15 AM

Dems struggle for cash in Kane races

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Year after year the politicians who win countywide races in Kane County raise and spend thousands of dollars to get their message out and the names burned into voters' minds when they hit the polls. Looking at the money candidates have in their campaign war chests can often indicate whether they are pretenders or true contenders in their race.

So far, a number of countywide candidates, mainly Democrats, haven't raised a dime.

In the contest for Kane County Auditor, almost all the money is coming from the candidates themselves. Republican Laura Wallett has loaned herself more than $10,000 so far in the race. Likewise, GOP challenger Terry Hunt has only one $1,000 donation that hasn't come from a self-loan. Those self-loans total $5,000. Meanwhile, the third Republican in the race, Karl Regnier has not yet formed a campaign committee.

Some of the deepest pockets in the countywide races are in the Circuit Court Clerk contest where, again, most of the money is coming from the candidates. Republican Thomas Hartwell has loaned his campaign $100,000. Likewise, Kane County Board member Cathy Hurlbut has loaned herself $24,000. Hurlbut also has $8,400 of outstanding campaign debt from previous loans she's given herself. Karin Herwick is a late entry to the race compared to the other two Republicans. She's loaned herself $10,000 and received another $10,000 from her family.

In contrast, the lone Democrat in the race, Ed Nendick, has no campaign committee so far.

In the race for coroner, the theme of Democrats running a cash-free campaign continues. Democrat Tao Martinez has no campaign committee.

Republican Bob Tiballi has had a campaign committee since 2004, but it hasn't seen any fundraising activity since at least 2006. Tiballi still has about $2,830 that has been sitting in the account since then.

Fellow Republican Rob Russell probably has the most name recognition in the race because of his recent bid to become Kane County Sheriff, and a brief stint as a candidate for the Elgin Community College board of trustees. He also has the most campaign cash with $4,000. That total includes a $1,000 loan he gave to himself.

Longtime Recorder Sandy Wegman has the most cash of any candidate in a countywide race. But all $122,475 of it comes from what remains of $330,000 worth of loans her and her husband have given her campaign coffer over the years. Wegman faces Democrat Brenda Rodgers. Rodgers has a campaign committee from her Elgin City Council races, but she only has $47 on hand.

The most watched countywide race will be the battle for county board chairman. Again, Democrats appear to have funding woes. Sue Klinkhamer said she didn't plan on spending a lot of money on the race. She has no campaign committee. In contrast, fellow Democrat Bill Sarto said he would be out fundraising. However, he also has no campaign committee.

That leaves the two Republican challengers far ahead. State Sen. Chris Lauzen has already racked up more than $73,500 in contributions. That includes $26,600 in transfers. He also has $26,000 in debt from an old loan he gave himself in 2007. Lauzen has spent more than fellow Republican Kevin Burns has raised. Burns has accumulated $17,500, much of which came from county board member Mike Donahue. Donahue personally gave Burns $1,000 and another $5,000 came from Donahue's company, the Midwest Wind Energy Development Group.

Candidates will file updated campaign finance reports by Jan. 17.

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