Government

Casten has more than $1 million saved for 2022 campaign; GOP challengers far behind

Two-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove started October with a tremendous financial advantage over the two Republicans vying to unseat him in 2022, federal records show.

Casten, who represents the suburban 6th District, raised $473,053 during the year’s third quarter and ended the period with more than $1 million saved, his campaign’s latest financial report showed.

Republican hopeful Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn received about $36,042 over the last three months, her report showed. The Conforti campaign spent most of that cash during the period, ending September with about $7,395 saved.

Fellow Republican Justin Burau of Winfield was even further behind Casten when it came to third-quarter fundraising. He reported receiving about $5,229 and finished with less than $1,600 banked.

Congressional candidates must file quarterly financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once their campaigns collect or spend at least $5,000.

Reports covering July 1 through Sept. 30 were due last week. They can be viewed at fec.gov.

The Casten for Congress committee started July with about $832,487 saved.

Casten received about $473,053 in campaign donations and financial transfers during the third quarter. Of those contributions, about $375,974 came from individuals and $78,500 came from committees or special interest groups, his report showed.

Casten, a former green energy executive who serves on House subcommittees on energy and the environment, received donations from multiple energy companies, including: Exelon, ComEd’s parent company; Chicago-based Invenergy; and Florida-based NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power Co. Each of those companies donated $1,000.

Casten also is a member of the House financial services committee, and he reported receiving thousands of dollars from companies in the insurance and banking industries. Donations came from Allstate Insurance, Capitol One, Discover Financial Services, J.P. Morgan Chase and other businesses in the field.

Other Casten supporters included a gun-control advocacy group named after former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, plus the American Association for Justice, which supports pro-civil-justice candidates. Each gave $1,000.

Jacob Vurpillat, a spokesman for the Casten campaign, said the donations “reflect a wide surge of support for Rep. Casten and everything he has accomplished so far this Congress.”

Casten reported about $255,898 in expenses and other disbursements during the quarter. That included a $50,000 transfer to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Team Casten also reported about $75,694 in debt to the candidate from 2017.

Conforti is an energy consultant making her first bid for elected office. The Conforti for Congress committee started the quarter without any cash.

Of the contributions she received during the period, at least $33,441 came from individuals.

Conforti reported a check from one political group: $500 from DuPage County Board member Donald E. Puchalski’s campaign committee.

Team Conforti also had nearly $7,141 in outstanding debt to FP1 Strategies, a campaign consulting firm.

Conforti reported more than $28,646 in operational expenses, refunds and other disbursements in the quarter.

A Conforti campaign spokesman declined to comment on the report.

The Justin Burau for Congress committee started July with about $414 saved, his report showed.

Burau, a real estate consultant and first-time candidate, reported receiving $2,865 in donations from individuals during the third quarter. He also reported lending the campaign about $2,363.

Burau reported no cash from special interest groups. His campaign reported more than $4,083 in disbursements last quarter.

Burau believes his fundraising efforts will improve.

“We have made substantial progress,” he said in an email Wednesday. “I am thrilled with where my campaign is and believe this is just the beginning.”

As of now, the 6th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. The boundaries will change once state lawmakers approve a congressional map based on population changes occurring between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.