Democrat challenging Foster again raises more from individual donors, but incumbent takes in more

Bill Foster, left, and Qasim Rashid are democratic candidates for congress in the 11th district.

For the second straight quarter, the Naperville human rights lawyer who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District seat has raised more money from individual donors than the veteran lawmaker, federal records show.

This time, however, Foster’s support from special interest groups – especially companies in the financial industry, which Foster helps oversee as a member of the House Financial Services Committee – put his overall total ahead of rival Qasim Rashid.

None of the three candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 11th District came close to matching either Democrat’s fundraising numbers.

Year-end reports covering campaign fundraising and spending between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 were due to the Federal Election Commission by Jan. 31. They can be viewed at


Foster’s campaign started October 2023 with more than $1.3 million in the bank.

It subsequently collected more than $490,210, including $317,073 from individuals and $166,001 from political action committees representing assorted companies, labor unions and other special interest groups.

Foster, a physicist and former entrepreneur from Naperville who has represented the 11th District since 2013, reported receiving $72,500 from PACs representing the financial industry. That included $5,000 from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, $3,000 from the Consumer Bankers Association and $2,500 from Morgan Stanley.

Other special-interest donations included $5,000 from the Service Employees International Union, $2,000 from AT&T and $2,500 from Comcast.

Foster’s fundraising total reflects broad-based support, campaign manager Alex Salisbury said in a prepared statement.

“Thanks to our campaign’s supporters, we’ll be ready to defend this district from Republicans who want to turn back the clock on reproductive freedom, attack collective bargaining rights and weaken environmental protections,” Salisbury said.

After spending about $145,596 in the quarter, Team Foster finished the year with almost $1.7 million saved and $1 million in old debts to the candidate.


The Qasim for Congress committee started the quarter with more than $114,138 in the bank. It subsequently reported raising about $321,405, all from individual donors.

“I am grateful for our community’s support last quarter,” Rashid said in a news release. “This district deserves somebody who fights for them in Congress, so I’m leading by example.”

Rashid, who ran for Congress and the Virginia state Senate a few years ago while living there, has pledged not to accept cash from political action committees and has bashed Foster for taking their money.

“Who we take money from is who we are accountable to in Congress and you’ll see that in Bill’s voting record,” Rashid said during a Jan. 24 candidates forum in Naperville.

In response to the repeated criticism, Foster campaign spokesman Greg Cybulski said Republican donors and groups spent millions in a failed effort to defeat Foster in 2022 and he expects they will target the seat again.

Democrats need “a battle-tested candidate with a proven winning record and the resources needed to defend against GOP attacks,” Cybulski said.

Team Rashid spent about $200,963 during the quarter, mostly on operating expenses. Of that sum, about $4,804 were donations to groups including the Democratic Party of Illinois, the DuPage County Democratic Party Central Committee and Kane County Democratic Women.

Rashid’s campaign finished the quarter with more than $234,580 saved and no debts.

The Republicans

Of the Republicans running for the 11th District seat, only music school owner Jerry Evans of Warrenville reported a six-figure revenue stream in the quarter. The other two candidates lagged far behind.

Evans’ campaign started the quarter with $99,717. It then collected about $102,410, all from individual donors, and had $56,954 in operating expenses, records show.

Evans, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2022, finished the year with $145,173 in the bank and $5,000 in debt to the candidate.

Susan Hathaway-Altman of Geneva also ran for the GOP nomination in 2022. But unlike Evans’ campaign, the Susan4Congress committee started the quarter with an empty bank account, records show.

It went on to collect $5,103 from individuals, including $26 from the candidate. Hathaway-Altman, a chief sales officer with AmTrav, also gave the campaign $17,000, bringing its total revenue for the quarter to $22,103.

The Hathaway-Altman campaign spent only $152 during the period, all on operating expenses. It ended December with $21,951 in the bank.

Kent Mercado, a doctor and attorney from Naperville, is making his first bid for elected office. His campaign committee started the quarter with less than $15,846 saved and reported $6,430 in donations from individuals.

Mercado also gave the campaign $10,000 on Dec. 31, records show, increasing its total debt to him to $32,500.

Team Mercado spent $21,445 during the period and finished with more than $11,020 saved.

The 11th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.

The primary election is March 19. Early voting has begun.

The winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries will face off in the Nov. 5 general election.