As she prepares for a third congressional run in 2022, Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville holds a dramatic fundraising lead over a newly surfaced Republican challenger, federal documents show.
Underwood, who represents the suburban 14th District, ended September with nearly $1.8 million in her campaign coffers — more than 104 times the roughly $17,005 that GOP rival James Marter’s campaign reported having at the time.
Congressional candidates must file quarterly financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once their campaigns collect or spend at least $5,000. The reports show money collected and spent, debts and other financial transactions.
Reports covering July 1 through Sept. 30 were due last week. They can be viewed at fec.gov.
The Lauren Underwood for Congress committee started April with nearly $1.5 million saved.
Underwood, who narrowly defeated Republican Jim Oberweis in 2020, received about $785,277 in campaign donations and financial transfers during the third quarter. Of those contributions, about $657,592 came from individuals and about $127,686 came from various committees or special interest groups, her report showed.
Underwood’s supporters last quarter included:
• The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, which gave $1,000.
• NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, which gave $2,500.
• The Environmental Defense Action Fund, which gave $1,000.
• The Airline Pilots Association and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, each of which gave $1,000.
Underwood also reported several donations from the campaign committees of fellow members of Congress.
“I am very thankful for the continuous generosity of Team Underwood,” Underwood said in a news release. “I am constantly reminded that I wouldn’t be able to represent this great district without the unwavering support from our voters and friends.”
Underwood reported about $499,512 in expenses, refunds and other disbursements during the quarter.
Marter, an Oswego software consultant and library district trustee, has been a regular fixture on ballots in recent years. He unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the 14th District in 2020 and in the 16th District in 2018. He also ran for U.S. Senate in 2016.
The Marter for Congress committee started April with less than $8,484 saved. At the time, Marter was running in the 16th District, which is served by Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
Marter announced last week that he’ll instead pursue the nomination in the 14th because he expects his home will be within its new boundaries once Illinois’ legislative map is completed ahead of the June 2022 primary.
Marter’s campaign reported receiving about $22,983 in donations during the third quarter. Of that sum, more than $2,422 came in as loans from Marter, and at least $7,250 consisted of donated services from various vendors.
As for donations from special interest groups or other political committees, Team Marter reported receiving $500 from only three:
• Illinois Family Action, the legislative arm of a conservative Christian organization called the Illinois Family Institute.
• Republican senatorial candidate Bobby Piton’s campaign committee.
• GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine’s campaign committee.
Marter knows he’s far behind Underwood when it comes to having money for campaign ads, staff, polling or other political purposes.
“Up until a couple days ago, I was in a (seven-way) primary race and no one knew what the maps looked like for sure,” he said in an email. “It will take the primary season to build a war chest for the general (election).”
At the moment, the 14th District includes parts of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Kendall counties. But that will change before next year’s elections.
District lines are being redrawn based on population changes between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.
A preliminary map released by state Democratic lawmakers last week gives the 14th District parts of the same seven counties.