If the ballots cast in the 11th Congressional District contest between Republican Judy Biggert and Democrat Bill Foster are as close as the competition for campaign cash, the race might be decided by only a couple thousand votes.
Pre-primary and first quarter federal financial reports show Foster outraised Biggert for the fourth consecutive reporting period, but only by about $49,000. Biggert still has the overall larger war chest heading into the ramp up for the November general election. Biggert has raised nearly $1.3 million and has $1.22 million cash on hand. Foster has raised $1.23 million and has just under $1 million cash on hand.
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Both candidates have long records of being able to bring big dollars to their races. That's a factor that will be important in terms of getting their names and messages in front of voters before they head to the polls for one of the key Congressional contests in the nation. Thanks to redistricting, Illinois is expected to be a state where Democrats can pick up seats. But Biggert does have a history of being able to attract Democratic crossover votes. She'll have to repeat that history to win in a new Congressional district drawn by Democrats.
"Judy is grateful for, and humbled by, the support she has received," said Biggert's campaign manager Mike Lukach. "It's clear that her record of accomplishments, history of bipartisan cooperation, and common sense proposals to cut spending, reduce the size of the federal government and rein in our nation's debt are all resonating with her supporters. She is confident that she'll have the resources she needs to communicate with the voters."
Foster's campaign has come out of the gates swinging at Biggert's record. Last week the campaign launched a new weekly feature called "Flashback Friday" where they plan to "highlight the many ways that Congresswoman Biggert has become part of the problem during her 13 years in Washington."
In a written statement, Foster said the campaign donations he's received so far represent a grass-roots base of support that wants change in the way Congress conducts business.
"It's clear that Illinois is hungry for new leadership in Washington that prioritizes the middle class and seniors instead of Wall Street banks and other special interests," Foster said. "I am confident that we are building a campaign that can change Washington."