A national group that keeps on eye on money in politics has some concerns about Illinois. One is the money being spent to smear Supreme Court justices who are up for retention. Trial lawyers did it this year to Lloyd Karmeier, and business groups did it in 2012 to Thomas Kilbride, though both justices survived.
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“It’s very disconcerting to have judges being elected by incorrect, false advertisements, and voters, by and large, have no idea who these justices are, they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision, and then all they end up having are these ads attacking the justices,” says Denise Roth Barber, managing director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Rich candidates funding their own campaigns. Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner spent $27 million of his own money. Barber says historically, in Illinois and elsewhere, few of the big spenders win their election.
The amount of money in state legislative races. The Terri Bryant—Bill Kilquist race in the Carbondale area topped $2 million, while spending exceeded $3.5 million for Republican Neal Anderson to knock off State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline). Barber says so few legislative races are competitive, so donors and legislative leaders can concentrate their efforts and their money on the handful of races that are competitive.