A look at campaign finances of local political candidates

Illinois State House of Representatives candidate

Carol Ammons, Democratic candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives who ran unopposed, received over $215,000 since Jan. 1, 2020, for her campaign, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Ammons received the bulk of her donations from unions and union-affiliated political action committees. These donations accumulated to approximately $150,000, covering more than half of her total donations.

Further contributors to Ammons include Nicor Gas, Ameren Transmission Company and Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company, which collectively sent $6,650. 

With this money, Carol Ammons and her team spent it variously. $14,000 of it went to advertising for billboards, yard signs and Squarespace. Printing and mailing fees consumed over $30,000 of Ammons’ total. Transportation, for example gas, car lease payments and airfare, took up over $20,000. 

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    Lastly, Ammons sent approximately $18,000 to the other candidates’ campaigns, including $9,415 to her husband and Democrat for county clerk, Aaron Ammons. 

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    Illinois State Senate candidate

    Democratic Illinois Sen. Scott Bennett received over $650,000 since Jan. 1, 2020, for his campaign. Bennett, running uncontested, received the majority of the funds by means of individual contributions, transfers in from other campaigns and in-kind, non-monetary contributions.

    Transfer ins from PACs accounted for over $220,000, with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers making a notable $57,800 contribution to the campaign in August 2020. 

    Further notable contributions include $70,000 from the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education, $50,000 from the Southern Central Illinois Laborers’ Political League, $20,000 from Rachelle Aud Crowe for Senate and $10,000 from Comcast.

    In the same time period, Bennett’s campaign has spent just under $420,000. The largest of his expenditures was approximately $95,000 spent on mail via The Strategy Group LLC. Bennett spent a further $125,000 on campaigning and printing, including $55,000 on media. Over $36,000 was spent on transportation and lodging. 

    Among numerous other expenses, $32,000 went to various sponsorships and donations. Bennett donated to the University of Illinois Foundation, C-U at Home and the Champaign Park District, among many others.

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    Champaign County clerk candidates

    The incumbent Democratic Champaign County clerk, Aaron Ammons, received $57,465 since the start of 2020. Of the $57,465 the Ammons campaign received, $43,515, or about 76% of his total donations, came from organizations, including $10,000 from the JB for Governor organization and $15,250 from an assortment of labor unions.

    His campaign also received $9,415 from his wife’s campaign. Carol Ammons is running for state representative in the 103rd district. 

    During an introduction he gave at a forum for the Champaign County clerk race on Oct. 27, Ammons, a former union president, affirmed his support for labor unions, saying “We need to preserve worker rights … I wholeheartedly support the right to collectively bargain.”

    Ammons spent a total of $20,462 on his campaign, including almost $9,000 on printing, $1,800 on “Television Media” and a $1000 contribution to Delia Ramirez’s campaign, who is running for Congress in Illinois’ third congressional district.

    While much of the almost $60,000 in donations contributed to Ammons’ campaign come from political organizations or labor unions, a majority of donations to Stuber’s campaign come from contributions from individual people, many under $500.

    Of the $26,313.70 received in donations by the Stuber campaign, about 56%, or $14,720.62, came from contributions from individual people. Only five of his 32 total donations came from organizations or businesses.

    Stuber received $5,240 from the Champaign County Republican Central Committee and $1,500 from Middle Ground PAC, a Republican PAC that, according to OpenSecrets.com, is associated with former Illinois representative Timothy Johnson and also supported Regan Deering, Republican candidate for Illinois representative. 

    Stuber also spent $21,496.78 on his campaign, according to records, including almost $10,000 on a billboard and almost $4,000 on yard signs. Stuber also paid around $300 for social media marketing on Snapchat. 

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    Champaign County Sheriff candidates

    Newcomer Republican John Brown has a significant lead in terms of donations over incumbent Democrat Dustin Heuerman. Brown has totalled over $30,000 and Heuerman around $15,000. 

    A vast majority of Brown’s donations came from in the form of individual donations, totaling $22,302.87, or about 71.8% of the campaign’s total finances, whereas Heuerman’s campaign is primarily self-funded, having put in $6,382.70 of his own money into the campaign or about 42.1% of the total. 

    Of Brown’s $31,042.87 total donations he has spent $20,355.15, mostly toward newspaper and radio ads and signs. Brown also spent over $1,000 on various social media advertisements. 

    Of Heuerman’s $14,907.34 in total donations, he has spent $9,381.86. Heuerman spent $5,523.47 on yard signs and radio, or 58.9% of his total donations. Heuerman did not spend any campaign money on social media but decided to focus on sponsorships, with $700 dollars going towards them.

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