Latest FEC reports reveal meager fundraising by Rick Laib in bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Foster
As Election Day nears, a Republican congressional candidate who has denied there is a constitutional separation of church and state and who doubts the science pointing to man-made climate change isn't getting much financial help from his party or local conservatives.
GOP hopeful Rick Laib of Joliet collected less than $5,900 in total campaign donations during the year's third quarter in his bid for Illinois' 11th Congressional District seat, his latest federal disclosure report shows. Laib's campaign ended the quarter with less than $4,500 saved for the critical final weeks of the race.
In stark contrast, the newest financial report from incumbent Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville showed more than $491,000 in donations during the period and nearly $4 million saved at the quarter's end.
Laib's meager fundraising show's he's not a serious candidate, elections expert Kent Redfield said.
"There is no sign of any kind of organized or unorganized base," said Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "There is no individual or organized support at the district level, no party support at the local, state, or national level and no national organization or PAC (political action committee) support."
Laib didn't answer questions about his campaign's finances. A Foster spokesman declined to comment.
The latest reports cover transactions made between July 1 and Sept. 30.
The Committee to Elect Rick Laib started the third quarter with about $4,485 saved.
A Will County sheriff's sergeant, Laib received $5,820 in donations during the period. He identified only one donation from a political party -- $500 from the Will County Republican Central Committee.
Team Laib reported spending about $5,860 on polling, signs, flyers and other operational expenses during the quarter, ending September with about $4,445 saved. The campaign also reported $1,500 in outstanding debts, all to the candidate.
Redfield wasn't surprised by Laib's lack of funding.
"This is a Democratic leaning district with an incumbent Democratic congressman," he said. "The incumbent, Foster, is running for his fifth term with all the advantages of an incumbent -- name recognition, community presence and lots of money."
GOP donors are putting more money -- millions, in fact -- into the races for Illinois' 6th District and 14th District seats, both of which were held by Republicans for decades until they flipped in 2018 as part of the blue wave that gave Democrats control of the U.S. House.
In the 6th District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove is challenged by Republican Jeanne Ives of Wheaton and Libertarian Bill Redpath of West Dundee. In the 14th, Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood is challenged by the GOP's Jim Oberweis.
"The chances of the Republicans taking back the two seats they lost in 2018 are much greater than their chances of defeating a Democratic incumbent from a Democratic district," Redfield said.
Bill Foster for Congress started the quarter with nearly $3.4 million in the bank and received $491,929 in total receipts during the period, records show.
That included 500 individual donations totaling nearly $253,258 and 107 donations totaling $217,000 from political action committees representing special interests.
Many donations came from groups representing the banking industry, including:
• The American Bankers Association, $2,000.
• The Bank Policy Institute, $2,000.
• Citigroup, $2,000.
• U.S. Bank, $1,000.
Foster, a former particle physicist, reported spending about $109,897 on media production, consulting and other operational expenses during the quarter. His campaign donated $36,250 in cash or services to other political groups, including Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
Team Foster ended September with about $3.7 million saved and more than $1 million in outstanding debts, nearly all of it to the candidate.
The 11th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.