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updated: 10/16/2012 12:28 PM

Duckworth fundraising outpaces Walsh, but SuperPACs change game

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  • Tammy Duckworth, left, opposes Joe Walsh in the 8th Congressional District for the 2012 General Election.

    Tammy Duckworth, left, opposes Joe Walsh in the 8th Congressional District for the 2012 General Election.

  • Video: Duckworth, Walsh debate

  • Video: Walsh on issues

  • Video: Tammy Duckworth on issues

and Projects Writer

Eighth Congressional District Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth far outpaced Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in fundraising in the third quarter, according to campaign finance reports filed at midnight Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

But outside spending by SuperPACs is greatly supplementing Walsh's fundraising efforts.

During the three-month period ending Sept. 30, Duckworth's campaign committee reported receiving $1.5 million in contributions, compared to Walsh's $269,910.

Close to $1.3 million of Duckworth's contributions came from individuals this quarter, with the rest from political action committees. Walsh's campaign received $188,490 from individuals, and $70,304 from committees.

Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, has received more donations every quarter this year than Walsh, of McHenry. But where Walsh's campaign has benefitted -- while indirectly -- is in money from SuperPACs. As of Tuesday morning, more than $3 million in outside expenditures had been spent on the 8th District race, with a majority of that money spent on ads and mailers supporting Walsh and opposing Duckworth.

Donors to standard political action committees are prohibited from contributing more than $5,000 to a campaign each election cycle. But SuperPACs are political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. They are the product of a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 that the government cannot ban political spending by corporations in elections. While SuperPACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates, they can spend unlimited amounts of money to promote the candidates they back, with fewer restrictions than a candidate's own campaign committee has under federal election law.

The 8th Congressional District, roughly centered in Schaumburg and stretching from Oakbrook to the southeast and a portion of Barrington to the northwest, contains portions of Kane, Cook and DuPage counties. Because of the national name recognition of both candidates -- Walsh, a nationally known Tea Partyer and Duckworth, a former member of the Obama administration -- and the race's prominence in Democrats' efforts to regain the house majority, the campaign has been closely watched and very expensive.

Duckworth's expenditures this quarter were $1.5 million. Overall, she has spent $3.2 million on the race.

Walsh spent $385,141 this quarter -- $1.2 million overall -- and finished the quarter with $592,093 in the bank.

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