Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has dialed up his support for Dee Beaubien a couple notches, signaling the party's belief that the independent candidate's Republican opponent in the 52nd House District race is vulnerable.
According to a campaign finance report filed Monday night, Madigan's personal campaign committee transferred $50,000 to Beaubien's camp, further aiding her quest to defeat Barrington Hills financial consultant David McSweeney.
Add that to the staffers, pollsters and political mailers they've funded and House Democrats' support for Beaubien now exceeds $100,000.
"I've only met Mr. Madigan twice, and I can't say what he thinks my chances are," Beaubien said. "I can only go by what I see when I go door to door, and I'm getting all kinds of positive feedback."
McSweeney, who defeated state Rep. Kent Gaffney and Tea Partyer Danielle Rowe in the GOP primary, said he expected Madigan's investment and doesn't believe it reflects a weakness in his bid.
"I've raised (including the primary) more than $475,000 excluding the money I put in, I've been walking precincts and I have a great organization," McSweeney said. "They'll do everything they can to defeat me, but I feel good about things."
McSweeney puts the Democratic support Beaubien has enjoyed closer to $200,000, pointing to recent contributions such as $20,000 from a construction and laborers' union, $5,000 from big-time Democratic backer Fred Eychaner and $5,000 from the Service Employees International Union.
"I consider them all part of the same team that has destroyed the state," McSweeney said.
Beaubien said she's receiving help from not only Madigan's party, but the GOP and fellow independents as well. The retired counselor, also from Barrington Hills, reiterated she won't owe anyone if elected, and she sees her bipartisan support as a strength. She isn't yet saying which party she'd caucus with if elected.
"People are tired of the fighting (among politicians)," Beaubien said. "My husband worked across the aisle. I know the same people down there. I know the system. You get bills passed generally because you work with people, not because you point and scream and blame them."
Both candidates have turned to their own money as campaigning hits the final stretch.
Last week, McSweeney loaned his campaign $25,000, while Beaubien has loaned hers $86,500 since Sept. 21.
The 52nd House District covers parts of Algonquin, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Cary, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills, North Barrington, Oakwood Hills, South Barrington, Trout Valley and Wauconda.