Sen. Michael Noland has far outraised his opponent when it comes to the amount and variety of campaign donations for his re-election bid. But Tim Elenz, Noland's challenger in the 22nd District state senate race, criticized him for accepting so much money from outside his district.
Elenz, a first-time candidate for public office from Streamwood, said he has been especially picky about his fundraising, sending back checks from groups with which he doesn't agree.
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"We just sent back a check from an anti-union group for $1,000," Elenz said in February. "We've done that with a number of groups."
Elenz has raised almost $33,000 since October, according to campaign finance disclosures from the State Board of Elections. The Illinois Political Action Committee for Education contributed $25,000 of that amount. The group is affiliated with the statewide Illinois Education Association.
Elenz also has several donations from Chicago people with a smattering of District 22 residents adding to his campaign fund.
Noland has raised about $67,000 since October, according to Board of Elections filings. Much of those donations are from unions, businesses and political action committees based outside of the district with a couple local people and organizations contributing as well.
More than two dozen political action committees donated to Noland in the last few months, most giving $1,000.
"I try to develop a broad base of support," Noland said. "You can look over my records and see I haven't always voted in the ways some of those special interests would want me to."
Noland said he is not "unduly influenced" by the contributions and values going door-to-door in the community talking to constituents more than bringing in campaign money. He said he finds out what his constituents want and need and lets the political action committees know where he can help them.
"I've always been up front and honest with them," Noland said. "As a result, they've helped me along, but not extravagantly."
Elenz also said his campaign is based on a presence in the community. He has about 50 friends and supporters volunteering to help his candidacy, prioritizing door-to-door contact.
Elenz said the election system works for the incumbent and against the average person who wants to run. He pointed to his broad base of volunteers as help overcoming economic shortcomings.
"If I didn't have these relationships that I have, there would be no way I could run against this gentleman," Elenz said.
The 22nd District includes portion of Cook and Kane counties.