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WGLT's reporting on the November 2020 election cycle.

Big Money Already Flowing Into 13th Congressional District Race

Betsy and Rodney at their podiums
Cindy Le
Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis at a WGLT debate on Oct. 29, 2018, at the Normal Theater.

This time two years ago, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan was caught in a costly five-way primary for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District.

This cycle, Londrigan has already built a larger campaign war chest than incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis and is again attracting significant support from out-of-state contributors.

Stefanie Smith
Credit Stefanie Smith for Congress / Facebook
Democrat Stefanie Smith is also running in the March 17 primary.

Londrigan, of Springfield, had $1.14 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31 after raising $531,091 during the last three months of 2019, according to FEC filings. Davis, a Taylorville Republican, raised $360,937 in the fourth quarter of 2019, leaving him with $1.08 million in cash on hand.

Democrats are again targeting the 13th District in 2020. The Cook Political Report has rated it a toss-up.

However, fundraising does not equal victory. Londrigan outraised Davis throughout the 2018 cycle ($4.3 million to $3.6 million) and still lost by 2,058 votes, or less than 1%.

Ahead of a possible rematch against Davis, Londrigan faces less competition in the March 17 primary. Unlike the five-way primary in 2018, the only other Democrat on the ballot for 2020 is Stefanie Smith of Urbana. Smith had just $1,036 in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, FEC records show.

Of the $1.4 million Londrigan has already raised for the 2020 election, about 83% has come from individual contributions, FEC records show. Two-thirds of that money has come from Illinois. The rest has come from California (8.5%), Massachusetts (7%), Missouri (5.2%), New York (4.2%), and donors from other states, FEC records show.

Londrigan has said she will not accept corporate political action committee (PAC) money. She has, however, received thousands of dollars from other groups, including $5,000 or more from End Citizens United, Emily’s List, and Equality PAC.

Meanwhile, Davis has raised $1.9 million for 2020, but he’s also spent more ($810,862) already than Londrigan ($297,031). About 27% of the money he’s raised has come from individual contributors, and 60% of that has come from Illinois residents, FEC records show.

About 68% of Davis’ fundraising in 2019 came from PACs and other political committees. Those contributors include the Caterpillar Employee PAC, the American Waterways Operators PAC, Take Back The House 2020, the McDonald’s Corp. PAC, the Home Depot PAC, and others.

The sprawling 13th Congressional District includes parts of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Decatur.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.