Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider raised almost half a million dollars for his reelection bid in during the year’s first quarter, while his Republican opponent says he hasn’t yet put together enough cash to file a report with the Federal Election Commission, despite campaigning for almost two years.
Schneider, of Highland Park, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for his 10th District seat in the June 28 primary election. Lake Forest resident and first-time candidate Joe Severino is running unopposed for the Republican nod.
Severino began campaigning for the post in 2020, and his lack of fundraising is anomalous. Most suburban congressional candidates this cycle have raised and spent tens of thousands of dollars by now – and some much more than that.
“This is not a serious candidacy,” said campaign expert Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Redrawn for the 2022 election, the 10th District includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
Congressional candidates must file quarterly financial reports with the FEC once their campaigns collect or spend at least $5,000. First-quarter reports covering Jan. 1 through March 31 were due April 15 and can be viewed at fec.gov.
Schneider is in his fourth term in Congress. He easily won reelection in 2020, when he held a massive fundraising advantage over GOP challenger Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee. Schneider serves on the House Ways and Means committee, a subcommittee on health, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and subcommittees covering a variety of national security and foreign policy concerns.
The Schneider for Congress campaign started 2022 with about $2.7 million in the bank, and it raised more than $467,109 during the first quarter, records show.
About $278,141 came from individual donors, while $186,890 came from political action committees representing special interests. That latter group included:
- Abbott Laboratories employees, who gave $5,000.
- The AbbVie pharmaceutical company, which gave $5,000.
- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which lobbies for pro-Israel policies in Congress and gave $5,800.
- Amazon, which gave $2,000.
The Schneider campaign spent more than $276,643 during the quarter, about 59% of what it took in. Expenditures included $82,750 to political groups and candidates, including:
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which got $50,000.
- U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, who’s running for reelection in the 11th District and whose campaign got $1,000 from Schneider.
- Gilbert Villegas, a Chicago alderman and a candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, whose campaign got $1,000.
The Schneider campaign finished March with about $2.9 million saved and no debt.
A Schneider spokesman declined to comment.
Redfield called Severino’s lack of finance reporting “strange.”
Severino filed his first federal statement of candidacy and created a campaign Facebook page in July 2020, although he didn’t run that year. He’s also been making public appearances throughout the suburbs since last year.
But Severino said his campaign hadn’t hit the FEC’s $5,000 threshold as of March 31.
“I’m very near [that mark],” Severino said last week.
Severino said he held his first campaign fundraiser this month – after the first quarter ended. The fundraising delay was strategic, he said.
That Republican groups and donors haven’t contributed to Severino’s campaign didn’t surprise Redfield. The 10th District has turned more Democratic in recent elections, and it’s likely even more so after the redistricting process, Redfield said.
The GOP simply isn’t targeting Schneider in the Nov. 8 general election.
“It’s not on anybody’s radar,” Redfield said of the 10th District.