Madigan uses his war chest to roll the dice on Chicago TV

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Particularly notable is the amount of money being spent not on cable TV, which can be localized to some degree, but on broadcast stations in the Chicago media market.

Each state house district has about 110,000 people, and the Chicago media market in the range of 9.5 million. Still, at least seven candidates are running spots on Chicago broadcast TV, even though the spots will be irrelevant to almost everyone who sees them since more than 95 percent of viewers live in other districts and can’t vote for the candidate running the spots.

Such an expenditure was unheard of until the last couple of elections, and even then limited to just a couple of districts.

One good example is the 20th District that covers part of the Northwest Side and neighboring suburbs. That area long has been represented by Republicans, thanks to an unusual truce between Madigan and the late Don Stephens, who was mayor of Rosemont and the Leyden Township GOP chair. But that truce is ancient history now that Don Stephens is gone and his son, Bradley, holds the rep seat  (as well as being mayor of Rosemont, too.)

The Democratic candidate, Michelle Darbro so far has more than $300,000 in ads, most on broadcast TV, according to the latest reports, with a spokesman for Stephens saying he fears another half million dollars worth of ads is on the way. The ads slash Stephens and kin for enriching themselves at taxpayers’ expense

Darbro’s campaign isn’t commenting on the ads, though Stephens’ campaign is calling her to explain  “the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Madigan has funneled into her coffers even as he is under investigation by the FBI for his role in a phony jobs for campaign contributions scheme involving ComEd.”

Madigan has not been charged in the ComEd matter and has denied any misconduct.

All in all, though the end of September, at least $1.7 million in ads on broadcast TV have been purchased by Democratic House candidates, with a smaller amount on cable. House Republicans say they do not have the money for broadcast ads.

This is all possible because, as my colleague A.D. Quig reported, Madigan has a record war chest in his various political funds despite the Edison matter, with $25 million on hand as of mid-September and more than $2 million received since.

With some members of Madigan’s caucus calling for him to step down and one saying she’ll run against him for re-election of speaker later this year, Madigan has both political and personal reasons to do everything he can to run up his majority, even if it means spending lots on TV in long shot races. The bigger majority he has after the election, the more defectors he can stand to lose while still retaining his job.

Republicans have been hoping to cut into Madigan’s 71-vote supermajority, but the big TV expenditures, mostly in suburban Chicago, are a clear bid to take advantage of top of the ticket trends in which President Donald Trump does not appear to faring particularly well in many suburbs.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

October 5, 2020 at 09:29PM

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