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Article updated: 10/18/2013 10:12 AM

Goel shows big early fundraising in 8th District

By Mike Riopell

Republican Manju Goel of Aurora has gotten off to a quick fundraising start in her campaign to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

Goel raised more than $200,000 in the infancy of her candidacy, a relatively impressive start that could give GOP primary challengers pause.

It's unclear how a primary race will shape up, but the first-time candidate touted her ability to raise money from the Indian-American community, as well as from downstate Republican congressmen Aaron Schock and Rodney Davis.

"I am honored and humbled by the support not only in the 8th District of Illinois but across the country from like-minded conservatives and small-business owners that agree we need to get our fiscal house in order," she said in a statement.

Goel is backed by Shalli Kumar, an Indian-American businessman who runs a super PAC that criticized Duckworth during her campaign last year.

The 8th District includes portions of Northwest Cook, central DuPage and eastern Kane counties.

Duckworth's tally

Duckworth raised about $253,000 in the third quarter of the year and has about $700,000 in the bank. The 8th Congressional District isn't a race the national Republican Party has paid particular attention to, but a lot of money could ramp that up.

Goel's total in a few weeks of fundraising compares well against fellow Republican congressional challengers. Bob Dold of Kenilworth in the heavily watched 10th District raised about $318,000, and the leading Republican fundraiser in the 11th District, Darlene Senger of Naperville, took in about $77,000.

Speaking of spending

State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale says there's no relation between a $12,300 donation his campaign for governor made to the conservative Family PAC and an effort by the group's director, Paul Caprio, to find a primary election opponent for Republican state Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein.

Caprio has vowed to work against Sullivan, who supports same-sex marriage.

The late-September donation from Dillard is labeled as "marriage telemarketing/grassroots" in campaign records. Dillard spokesman Wes Bleed says the money was to be used to help the campaign network with Family PAC supporters and not to work against Republican candidates.

Heady stuff

State Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, says she's planning to talk to local high school and youth football coaches after the season about another push to try to limit concussions in young players.

Sente previously advocated for legislation limiting tackling in practices to help protect players. She says she has some new ideas but wants to bring coaches in to talk about the effort.

Why did this come up? I asked Sente if she'd seen the two-hour documentary called "League of Denial" on PBS' "Frontline." It outlined the damage that can be done to NFL players after a career of bruising hits and included some anecdotes about younger players, too.

Sente says she's watched some of it and wants to strike a balance between safety and people's love of football.

"It's a collision sport, so how do we make it safe enough?" she said.

What's goin' on?

Some political events to know about.

Fox News Contributor Michelle Malkin will headline a "Restore Illinois Summit" Nov. 2 in Rosemont.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk will speak today at a Lake County Republican Foundation event at the Lincolnshire Marriott.

The New Trier Republican Organization will have its 75th annual Fall Dinner Sunday at Allgauer's on the River in Northbrook. The four GOP candidates for governor are expected to attend.

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