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Romney SuperPAC $1 million TV Ad Buy in Illinois

Chicago Tribune

The political action committee backing Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential bid has purchased more than $900,000 in TV ad time, including about $250,000 in the Chicago market, as Illinois’ primary draws near.

Restore Our Future, a so-called Super PAC, reported the buy in documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. The Super PAC has been influential in airing negative ads against Romney rival Rick Santorum.

The filing indicates that similar ads against Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, are in the offing before Illinois’ March 20 primary. Super PACs backing Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have yet to purchase any TV time in Illinois, according to FEC documents.

Romney ads began airing locally on Chicago broadcast stations this week, part of an initial $100,000 ad buy that also includes another $150,000 of cable TV time, according to a source familiar with political ad buying in the expensive Chicago market who is not authorized to speak publicly.

The presidential ad buys come as candidates for Congress reported new fundraising totals for the first two months of the year and many began taking to the airwaves with little more than a week to go before the state’s primary election.

In the northwest suburban 8th Congressional District Democratic primary, Tammy Duckworth raised $335,449 — more than double the $139,642 that rival Raja Krishnamoorthi generated in the first two months of the year.

Duckworth began March with $255,473, while Krishnamoorthi had $261,692 left. Combined, the two have raised nearly $2.5 million for the campaign season.

Supporters of Krishnamoorthi earlier this week started a political committee that will raise and spend money separate from the official campaign. Michael Vainisi, who helped run Krishnamoorthi’s failed 2010 primary bid for state comptroller, said the committee plans to raise about $30,000 and spend it on “positive” TV ads.

Duckworth spokeswoman Kaitlin Fahey called the move “desperate.”

Vainisi said donors include past supporters who are trying to “level the playing field” given Duckworth’s access to the fundraising networks of top Democrats, which includes MayorRahm Emanuel and political strategist David Axelrod.

In the 2nd District, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.raised $273,519 in January and February, dwarfing the $55,379 raised by Democratic primary challenger Debbie Halvorson, a former one-term congresswoman from Crete. Jackson began March with $451,105 to Halvorson’s $187,033.

In the north suburban 10th Congressional District, Democratic activist Ilya Sheyman raised $237,044 in the first two months of the year and had $242,369 in his campaign bank account to start the month. Opponent Brad Schneider raised $131,571 from January to March and had $209,735 on hand.

Two other Democrats are seeking the nomination. John Tree had only $7,009 in cash available after raising $30,958 in January and February. Vivek Bavda had $816 in his campaign account after raising $16,272.

In the west and southwest suburban 11th District, former Democratic Rep. Bill Fosterraised $155,633 in the first two months of the year and had $814,000 still in the bank.
Democrat Juan Thomas, a former township clerk from Aurora, reported raising $103,319 overall with just $8,045 available. Democrat Jim Hickey, president of the Orland Fire Protection District, raised $3,605, lent his campaign another $4,859 and had $2,391 left.

In the northwest and central Illinois 16th District Republican race, veteran U.S. Rep.Donald Manzullo raised $263,341 in January and February and had $333,916 left. Freshman U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger raised $243,480 in the first two months of the year and had $314,806 in his campaign account.

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