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posted: 10/25/2012 6:19 PM

When it comes to campaign cash, state Sen. Terry Link leads challenger Don Castella

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  • Republican Don Castella, left, is challenging Democratic state Sen. Terry Link in the 30th District.

      Republican Don Castella, left, is challenging Democratic state Sen. Terry Link in the 30th District.

 
 

Veteran Democratic state Sen. Terry Link has vastly outraised Republican challenger Don Castella in the race for the 30th District seat, state records show.

Link had more than $58,278 in his war chest as of Sept. 30 and has reported receiving an additional $63,000 from campaign backers since then.

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Castella had less than $2,775 banked for signs, mailers and other campaign expenditures as of Sept. 30, his financial disclosure forms show.

He's since reported one donation over $1,000: a $10,000 check from Otto Engineering, a Carpentersville company owned by conservative activist Jack Roeser.

That one donation is three times what Castella collected in the previous three months, records show.

Running against a politically powerful, five-term incumbent, Castella said his struggle to raise cash for his campaign wasn't unexpected.

"It is hard to convince potential contributors that we have a chance to win," he said.

Illinois legislative candidates who raise or spend at least $3,000 must file quarterly financial disclosure reports with the state board of elections. They must also file individual reports for donations of $1,000 or more.

The reports are viewable online at elections.state.il.us.

Link, of Waukegan, is the leader of the Democratic Party in Lake County. He's held the 30th District seat since 1997.

The Friends of Terry Link committee reported receiving $64,625 in campaign donations between July 1 and Sept. 30, the period covered by the most recent quarterly documents.

An outspoken proponent of gambling expansion, Link reported several donations from that industry, including $2,000 from Arlington Park and $5,000 from the Racing Association of Illinois.

Other notable Link supporters during the year's third quarter included:

• $2,000 from Wirtz Beverage Illinois.

• $3,000 from a political action committee representing employees of Abbott Laboratories.

• $5,000 from the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois.

The beer distributors group was more generous this month, donating an additional $15,000 to Link's campaign in October.

The Illinois Education Association's political action committee also gave Link's campaign $15,000 this month, on top of a $5,000 check the group wrote Link in July.

Despite the large donations from those groups, Link insisted he's not beholden to any particular organization.

"Everybody recognizes that I am willing to sit down and listen to them," he said.

Link historically has been better funded than his opponents, and in previous years he's used that cash to buoy other candidates' campaigns and political efforts.

That generosity is evident in his latest quarterly report. Most significantly, Link's committee gave $15,000 to a state senate Victory Fund.

Link's quarterly report indicates that check was cut to a national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that works to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered politicians, but Link said that's erroneous. The report will be corrected, he added.

Castella, a first-time Senate candidate from Lincolnshire, has led the Vernon Township Republican organization since 2006 and is vice chairman of the conservative Republican Assembly of Lake County.

The Citizens for Don Castella committee reported $3,250 in donations during the third quarter, and $2,000 of that came from Castella himself.

The only other donor listed on the quarterly report was a Crystal Lake banker who wrote a $1,000 check.

The $10,000 from Otto Engineering was delivered Oct. 1, the day after the quarter ended, records show.

Most of the 30th District is in Lake County. A small portion is in northern Cook County.

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