Congressional primary winners vastly outraised and outspent their opponents

On both sides of the political aisle, the winners of contested primary races in two suburban congressional districts significantly outraised and outspent their rivals in the months leading up to Election Day, newly released records show.

In the Democratic primaries in the 11th District and 6th District and in the Republican primary in the 11th, the winning candidates spent at least in the six-figure range on advertising and other expenses, according to financial reports filed April 15 with the Federal Election Commission.

The fundraising front-runner of the group, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, already has raked in more than $2 million and spent more than $1 million to retain his 11th District seat.

Foster’s primary challenger, fellow Naperville resident Qasim Rashid, was the only defeated candidate in either district to spend in the six-figure range. Even so, he lagged far behind Foster.

11th District

The most recent campaign finance reports detail congressional candidates’ fundraising and spending between Feb. 29 and March 31. They can be viewed at

Foster’s campaign collected nearly $348,000 during that period, including $171,000 from political action committees representing special interest groups. At least $94,000 of that latter sum came from companies in the financial industry, which Foster helps regulate as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, records show.

Team Foster spent nearly $428,000 during the period and finished the month with nearly $1.6 million saved, as well as about $1 million in old debts to the candidate.

Rashid raised less than $131,000 and spent nearly $156,000 during the same period. His committee reported one donation from a special interest group in the quarter: $5,000 from the national United Auto Workers union.

The donation arrived a couple weeks after a regional UAW chapter announced — and then rescinded — its endorsement of Rashid. The regional group ultimately backed Foster, as did a local chapter of the union.

Rashid’s campaign finished March with a little more than $68,000 in the bank and nearly $134,000 in debts to consultants and vendors.

In the 11th District’s Republican primary, Jerry Evans of Warrenville defeated Kent Mercado of Bartlett and Susan Hathaway-Altman of Geneva. Evans has raised more than $328,000 and spent nearly $221,000 during the cycle so far.

Jerry Evans, Republican candidate for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District seat

In the period covered by the latest reports, Evans raised more than $104,000, including cash from three political action committees: $5,000 from Abraham Lincoln PAC, a committee tied to downstate Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood; $2,000 from the campaign committee of former Republican U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores of Texas; and $3,300 from Texas Values, a group that opposes abortion and LGBTQ issues. Evans’ campaign finished March with nearly $108,000 saved and $15,000 owed to the candidate.

Mercado raised less than $69,000 and spent nearly $68,000 through Feb. 28, available records show. He didn’t file a financial report for the latest period.

Hathaway-Altman raised less than $63,000 and spent nearly $49,000 over the course of the campaign. Team Hathaway-Altman finished March overdrawn by more than $10,000, records show, and owing $35,000 to the candidate.

The 11th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.

6th District

In the Democratic primary for the 6th District seat, incumbent Sean Casten defeated Mahnoor Ahmad of Oakbrook Terrace and Charles Hughes of Chicago. The district includes parts of Cook and DuPage counties.

Casten’s reelection committee has raised nearly $2 million and spent nearly $900,000 during the cycle so far. Between Feb. 29 and March 31, Casten’s campaign collected more than $312,000, including nearly $135,000 from special interest groups.

Of that latter sum, at least $71,500 came from companies in the financial industry. Like Foster, Casten is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Team Casten finished March with more than $1.1 million saved and nearly $76,000 in old debts to the candidate.

Ahmad raised less than $97,000 during the entire cycle, including nearly $39,000 during the last period. The Ahmad campaign spent less than $95,000 over the cycle, including more than $78,000 during the last period.

Ahmad’s team finished March with about $1,700 left over and no debts.

Hughes raised less than $8,000 and spent about $3,000 during the cycle. He formally terminated his campaign committee April 1, reporting no money left over.

Casten will face Glen Ellyn Republican Niki Conforti in the Nov. 5 general election. Conforti ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

Conforti’s campaign has raised nearly $52,000 and spent nearly $30,000 through March 31, records show, and it owes the candidate $8,000.

Niki Conforti, the Republican candidate in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District

Looking forward

Conforti and Evans must raise “a ton of money” to really compete in November, said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The 6th and 11th Districts were drawn to ensure Democratic victories, Redfield said, and Foster and Casten have proved popular with voters in election after election, as well as left-leaning donors.

But so far, neither Conforti nor Evans has drawn the attention of deep-pocketed political action committees, Republican campaign organizations or outside conservative groups, Redfield said. The GOP and its backers are focused on holding seats they won in 2022 and those with the best chance of flipping from blue to red, he said.

“Districts 6 and 11 are not on that list,” Redfield said.

And then there were four: A look at the races for the 6th and 11th district congressional seats

Why challenges coming at Foster, Casten from the left didn’t work

A good night for U.S. House incumbents as Casten, Foster, Garcia cruise to primary victories

Democrat challenging Foster again raises more from individual donors, but incumbent takes in more overall

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.