Roskam spends 16 times what opponent raises

  • Peter Roskam

    Peter Roskam

  • Benjamin Lowe

    Benjamin Lowe

Updated 10/28/2010 11:13 PM

No primary and an opponent in the general election considered an outsider in his own party didn't stop 6th District Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam from spending on his re-election bid.

The Republican incumbent has spent more than $1 million in an effort to secure his third term in Congress come Nov. 2.


That's more than 16 times what his Democratic opponent Benjamin Lowe even raised at $67,000. Roskam has raised more than double what he's spent.

"Congressman Roskam has seen an outpouring of support from those who share his worldview of lower taxes and limited government and want to join him in working for a Republican majority to get our economy back on the right track," said Dean Thompson, a Roskam campaign spokesman.

While Roskam received almost $1 million from political action committees, Lowe took in no cash from special interests.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the time money does play a winning role in politics," Lowe said. "We elect these folks and they are expected to turn around right away and regulate the people who paid for their election. Well, we've purposefully disadvantaged ourselves in that aspect."

Roskam received the maximum funding possible of $10,000 during the election cycle from at least 19 different PACs and the maximum individual contributions of $4,800 from at least 30 people. Lowe didn't receive the maximum donation from any of his supporters.

Lowe said he is such an outsider that he had to convince DuPage Democratic Party leaders that he wasn't a Republican operative when he first announced his candidacy.

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He is pleased with the way his campaign has operated. He believes it's a model for how future races should be run.

"I live in a low income part of Wheaton and it's very hard for me to think about raising and spending $3 million on a campaign when I walk out of my front door and see my neighbors struggling to find money to pay for groceries," Lowe said.

Most of his expenses are related to campaign materials, Lowe said.

But Lowe said he made a point of finding local vendors to provide the services he needed.

Roskam too spent a large chunk on election materials, but Federal Election Commission records show that he spent almost $300,000 for direct mail and telemarketing services with firms in Utah and New Hampshire. Another $57,000-plus went to a Florida-based accounting firm for financial services.

Thompson defended the practice.

"Congressman Roskam practices the same frugal budgeting for his campaign that he expects the federal government to follow with taxpayer dollars," Thompson said. "We strive to use companies that provide the best quality products and services for the lowest cost."