State Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. has received more than $73,000 in large campaign contributions in the past month, dwarfing the take of his Republican primary challenger, state documents show.
House District 51 voters participating in the GOP primary March 18 will select between Sullivan, who also is Fremont Township's elected assessor, and Bob Bednar. Both candidates are Mundelein residents.
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Bednar criticized the sources of Sullivan's contributions, saying the bulk have come from special interests and big companies. He said while he can't compete with Sullivan financially, he has confidence in the work being done on his behalf by Fremont Township GOP committeemen.
"We're definitely a serious contender," Bednar said Monday. "We've got committeemen out there walking."
Sullivan said that as a Republican leader in the House, he's proud to have widespread monetary support generated from his efforts to fight for fiscal responsibility and lower property taxes.
"My opponent and his allies also pitched many of these individuals and organizations, but they instead chose to support my campaign, further proving that I am the best candidate to represent the people of the 51st District," said Sullivan, who gained attention with his vote for same-sex marriage last year.
Sullivan has collected $73,300 in large donations since Feb. 7, compared to Bednar's $2,500, according to Illinois State Board of Elections campaign finance disclosure reports. State law requires timely filing of individual campaign disclosure documents for contributions of $1,000 or more.
The education reform group Stand for Children of Illinois dropped $10,000 into Sullivan's campaign. Other Sullivan contributors in the past month include former Gov. Jim Edgar's political action committee with $1,000 and Florida-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. at $5,000.
Sullivan said he has "great pride" in having Edgar's support.
Chicago-based conservative group Family PAC donated $1,500 to Bednar, documents show, while Highland Park resident Martin Zeidman chipped in $1,000.
Family PAC director Paul Caprio publicly announced he'd find a primary candidate to support because of Sullivan's decision to back same-sex marriage. Bednar said he opposes gay marriage.
Sullivan has been a state representative since 2002 and Fremont's assessor for 21 years. Bednar, who lost to Democratic Lake County Recorder of Deeds Mary Ellen Vanderventer in 2012, is making his first try at a statewide office.
District 51 includes all or parts of Mundelein, Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Deer Park, Green Oaks, Barrington, Tower Lakes, North Barrington and Lake Barrington.
While they differ on gay marriage, Bednar and Sullivan are similar in opposing an extension of the state's income tax hike after it's due to expire in January 2015.
No Democrats are running in the March 18 primary for House District 51.
It's unknown if the Bednar-Sullivan winner will face Democratic competition in the November general election.