Fundraising filings show different strategies in 6th Congressional District

Campaign finance filings show one candidate is largely self-funding his campaign for the GOP nomination in the 6th U.S. Congressional District, while the other is drawing on individual donations to power hers as both seek the chance to unseat freshman Democrat Sean Casten.

Glen Ellyn Republican Gordon "Jay" Kinzler has loaned $101,000 to his campaign, which brought in $150,903 in total receipts in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Wheaton Republican Jeanne Ives totaled $267,997 in receipts during the fourth quarter, with $243,748 coming from individual donors, records show.

Kinzler closed the year with $145,534 on hand, while Ives had $313,366, compared with Casten's total in the bank of $1.9 million, records show.

Kinzler said his personal support of his campaign proves he has "skin in the game." Ives' campaign called that sentiment "spin" and said her fundraising success without a personal loan is a result of "public belief in her mission and ability to win."

Kinzler and Ives are both seeking the chance to return the 6th District seat, a longtime Republican stronghold, to the GOP after Casten's win in 2018. Casten took office as part of a blue wave that brought Democratic representatives to all suburban Congressional districts.

Ives says she is the best candidate to take on a "powerful political class" and advocate for the values of 6th District residents.

Ives is a three-term former state representative, a West Point graduate and an Army veteran. She is facing a Republican primary for the second election in a row after she ran unsuccessfully against then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

Ives' campaign lately has been promoting her stances on free-market solutions to issues such as health care affordability and college debt. She also talks up her ability to stand up against cronyism, whether among Democrats or within her own party.

Kinzler says the main difference between he and his opponent is not in policy preference, but in style.

Kinzler is a surgeon at Elmhurst Hospital and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn who has been president of the Glen Ellyn park board. He is a colonel in the U.S. Army reserve who formerly served in active duty, and he said he'll bring people together.

"The main difference between our campaign and our opponent's is we're uniters; she has a tendency to be a divider," Kinzler said. "Right now, what our party needs and what our country needs is somebody to work together as a team for the good of the whole, the good of the residents, the good of the nation."

Kinzler's campaign employs two paid staff members. His team also is made up of "a bunch of loyal volunteers," including a "kitchen cabinet" of 20 people handling duties such as campaign literature and high school outreach. He said this approach represents his view that politics shouldn't be a long-term gig.

"I believe that representing the people isn't a career, it's more of part-time honor that you do for a couple years," Kinzler said.

Ives said her campaign includes eight paid staff members and is "blessed to have over 300 self-identified volunteers." She is involved in day-to-day decisions about data collection, fundraising, communications and strategy.

An earlier flap about a campaign mailer that asked for donation amounts above the federal limit for was an isolated issue, Ives' campaign said. The campaign has severed ties with the vendor that made the mistake that resulted in the singular mailing, which inadvertently asked one past donor for five-digit contributions above the individual limit of $2,800.

"Literally, one person got that mailer because a vendor entered one past gift inaccurately," Ives spokeswoman Kathleen Murhpy said. "We would never ask for donations above the legal limit and have refunded any that were over."

Indeed the campaign refunded a total of $23,425 during the fourth quarter, Federal Election Commission filings show. Meanwhile, the Kinzler campaign did not issue any refunds and the Casten campaign refunded $25.

The candidates are vying for Republican voter support in the March 17 primary to represent the 6th District, which includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Lake Counties and stretches from Naperville to the Barrington area and Tower Lakes.

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