The Super PACs will be players in Illinois congressional elections. This is according to Whitney Woodward of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, who says Super PACs can have so much influence that they overwhelm the message even of the candidate they’re trying to support.
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“These Super PACs can basically hijack the campaign. They have the resources, the message, the know-how to really run into a campaign and kind of blow things up, really change the dynamic of the race, and take away the messaging that might come from the candidate,” she said.
Super PACs came into existence after the Supreme Court Citizens United decision in 2010. Super PACs can take in unlimited contributions, while the candidates are bound by contribution limits. The Super PACs must not be coordinated with a candidate directly, though they have the same goal. Woodward says the Super PACs do the dirty work of smearing the opposition with deceptive or unfair claims, and since the candidate himself or herself didn’t run the ad, the candidate may be able to avoid responsibility for the ad.
Illinois has not been directly exposed to Super PACs in the presidential race – though those who consume Iowa or Missouri media have experienced it – but we will see them in races for Congress, since Illinois has six races that will bear on which party will control the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of us will be exposed to Super PAC ads, since radio and TV market areas overlap congressional districts.