Riopell: Conservative radio host Dan Proft will spend $2 million in Illinois election
Talk radio host Dan Proft says he's planning to spend $2 million before Election Day trying to help Republicans get elected to seats in Springfield.
The conservative WLS-AM morning host heads up the Liberty Principles PAC, a committee that spent a lot of money in the suburbs in the primary election trying to defeat several incumbent Republican state lawmakers.
Now, Proft said, the committee will do ads and mailers for a number of suburban Republican candidates and has already made a TV ad for businessman Mel Thillens of Park Ridge, who is running against Democratic state Rep. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines.
As a third-party group, his committee can't coordinate its activities with the candidates of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, who is trying to dig out of a 71-47 deficit to Democrats in the Illinois House.
In fact, Proft's spending to help GOP challengers in the primary election spurred Durkin to spend a lot of cash trying to protect incumbents.
But because Illinois Democrats have far more money to try to protect their majority in the House -- or even expand it -- Proft's aid to conservative candidates could be helpful in November.
"We think that there needs to be more balance in state government," Proft said.
A spokesman for Democratic Leader Michael Madigan said voters should be wary of third-party spending.
"What is he expecting of these people that he's spending money on?" spokesman Steve Brown said.
The race between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and his challenger, Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, has fired up political types.
Regular voters, so far, are just doing their own thing.
The Illinois State Board of Elections said as of Wednesday, about 7.4 million people are registered to vote. That's about 8,000 less than at the same time four years ago, a drop of less than a tenth of a percent.
Of course, what matters most is how many of those people vote on Election Day, and this is the first year voters can both register online and when they show up to the polls Nov. 4.
Most experts suggest it would be easiest to register by the normal deadline, though, which is coming up on Oct. 7.
Also not changing
A top attorney for Democratic Senate President John Cullerton released a sizable academic study about Illinois' long-debated pension systems this week.
Some voters are no doubt tired of hearing about the state's massive pension debt and the attempt to fix it.
After all, the article by Eric Madiar points to an old state report that says local pension systems were "one of insolvency" and "moving toward crisis."
The report was from 1917.