Underwood dramatically outraised challenger Oberweis in third quarter, records show

  • Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove and Lauren Underwood of Naperville, candidates for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat.

    Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove and Lauren Underwood of Naperville, candidates for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat.

 
 
Updated 10/16/2020 1:11 PM

In the hotly contested race for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat, Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood significantly outraised Republican rival Jim Oberweis during the year's third quarter, newly filed financial disclosure reports show.

Underwood, a rookie lawmaker from Naperville, collected more than $1.7 million in campaign donations between July 1 and Sept. 30, her disclosure report indicates. That's more than four times the $367,902 Oberweis' campaign received during the same period, records show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Oberweis, a state senator and dairy owner from Sugar Grove, actually lent his campaign more money -- $600,000 -- than it received from outside sources.

Congressional hopefuls must file quarterly financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. Reports can be viewed at fec.gov.

The latest reports were due Thursday and detail donations received and spending done between July 1 and Sept. 30.

Underwood defeated Republican Randy Hultgren in 2018 to claim the 14th District post. Her victory was part of the blue wave that gave the Democrats majority control of the House.

With early voting already underway for the Nov. 3 election, Underwood's fundraising far exceeds Oberweis' efforts.

The latest financial report from Lauren Underwood For Congress showed more than $1.6 million in donations. Underwood received donations from nearly 25,000 supporters during the quarter, and 90% of the donations were under $200 each, her campaign said in a news release.

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"This campaign is so much bigger than me," Underwood said in that release. "I'm so thankful for this generous support and look forward to earning the support of voters across the 14th Congressional District."

Team Underwood also reported receiving about $96,906 from political parties and political action committees. Those donations included:

• $4,500 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

• $4,000 from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

• $3,000 from the American Hospital Association.

• $2,500 from the American Medical Association.

The Underwood campaign also received $10,500 from the Underwood Casten Joint Victory Fund, which benefits her and Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of the neighboring 6th District.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Underwood's campaign reported spending more than $2.7 million on payroll, media production, direct mail production and printing and other expenses during the quarter. It finished September with more than $2.3 million in the bank and no debt.

Oberweis' Jim 2020 Committee received more than $310,000 in individual donations, its latest report showed. The campaign also reported $57,750 in donations from political action committees, including:

• $500 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for the firearms industry.

• $2,000 from Hultgren's campaign committee.

• $1,000 from former U.S. Rep. Bob Dold's campaign committee.

• $2,500 from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, which backs conservative candidates for federal office.

Unlike Underwood, Team Oberweis didn't report receiving any money from his party's national committee. But Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin said the National Republican Congressional Committee connected the campaign with congressional leaders who helped Oberweis raise funds.

Team Oberweis reported spending nearly $380,000 on research, payroll, printing, media and other expenses during the quarter, his report shows. That's just 14% of what Team Underwood spent during the same period.

Additionally, the Oberweis campaign made two donations to the Illinois Republican Party totaling $104,000.

The budgetary gap didn't seem to bother Akin.

"Lauren Underwood outspent the Jim Oberweis campaign ... to defend her failed record as the representative for the 14th Congressional District," Akin said.

Oberweis' campaign finished September with less than $876,000 in the bank and $875,500 in debts. Oberweis has lent the campaign $1.4 million since September 2019, records indicate.

"He has contributed to many of the past campaigns he has run, so it is not unprecedented for him to donate to his own campaign," Akin said of his boss, who has run for U.S. Senate, governor and Congress in addition to the state Senate seat he holds.

The 14th District includes parts of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Kendall counties.

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