1 GOP challenger outraising Foster in 11th District race
If early fundraising efforts in the 11th Congressional District race are any indication, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville may face a greater election challenge this year than he did in 2020.
Although Foster's fundraising total for the final quarter of 2021 vastly exceeded any of his Republican challengers' efforts, one of them -- Woodstock's Catalina Lauf -- received more money from individual donors than Foster did during the period, a comparison of the newly filed finance reports showed. Foster came out on top because of money from political action committees.
Additionally, although both candidates have raised more than $1 million so far this election cycle, Lauf's total receipts were slightly ahead of Foster's as of Dec. 31, their reports showed.
The nearly $4.3 million Foster had in his political war chest at the end of the year dwarfed Lauf's $255,976 reserves, however.
Still, Lauf's fundraising efforts are dramatically more energetic than those of Foster's 2020 GOP opponent, Rick Laib, whose total was in the low five figures and who lost the contest by a wide margin.
Lauf is gearing up to give Foster a fight.
"When the dust settles, America will celebrate a strong woman entering Congress to take back the House," she said in an emailed statement.
Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Foster to a list of incumbents in potentially close contests. He and 14th District Rep. Lauren Underwood, also of Naperville, are the only members of the Illinois delegation on the list.
Lauf isn't the only Republican aiming to unseat Foster.
Additionally, Republicans Grace Greene of St. Charles, Krishna Bansal of Naperville and Dean Seppelfrick of Aurora have filed paperwork with the FEC indicating they plan to run, but they've made no public announcements and didn't respond to interview requests.
Redrawn for the 2022 election, the 11th District encompasses parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.
Congressional candidates must file quarterly financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once their campaigns collect or spend at least $5,000. Year-end reports covering Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 were due Monday and can be viewed at fec.gov.
The Bill Foster for Congress committee started last quarter with nearly $4 million in the bank, and it collected about $415,578 in donations during the period.
Among Foster's donors in those industries were:
• TD Bank, which gave $1,500.
• A committee representing MetLife employees, which gave $5,000.
• The Goldman Sachs Group, which gave $2,000.
• The Boeing Co, which gave $1,000.
• General Atomics, which gave $1,000.
When asked about the donations from those special interest groups, Foster campaign manager Dovile Svirupskaite said her boss has worked to "rein in abuses on Wall Street." For example, he helped craft sweeping financial-industry regulations after the Great Recession.
The Foster campaign spent nearly $126,619 in the quarter -- about 30% of what it took in during the period. The group also reported more than $1 million in debt to the candidate dating back to 2008.
Across the aisle, the Catalina for Congress committee started last quarter with about $216,805 in the bank, and it received about $275,855 during the period. Of that latter sum, about $269,831 came from individuals.
Team Lauf also reported two donations from Republican groups. A leadership committee sponsored by U.S. Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia gave $4,000, and Tennessee congressional candidate Robby Starbuck's campaign committee gave $2,000.
Lauf's committee spent about $236,683 in the quarter -- about 86% of what it took in during the period. The group reported no debt.
Lauf called her year-end numbers "(a) resounding fundraising success."
Lauf unsuccessfully ran for the 14th District seat in 2020. She initially filed to run in the 16th District in this year's election but switched to the 11th after the boundaries changed and incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger opted not to seek reelection.
Lauf, who has touted her service at the U.S. Commerce Department under former President Donald Trump, had been an outspoken Kinzinger critic.
Evans, Greene, Heeg and Miller didn't submit year-end reports. All filed organizational paperwork with the FEC in January, after the fourth quarter ended. Seppelfrick didn't file a year-end report, either.
Bansal's report showed no donations and less than $41 in expenses for the quarter.
The primary is June 28. The general election is Nov. 8.