Investing in the Heartland

Those tracking money in Illinois politics this election season have taken notice of the flood of funds that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) has contributed to gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Brady has received $6,915,213.97 in contributions from the RGA since winning his party’s nomination. It turns out Illinois isn’t alone.

Reform colleagues in Ohio report that their Republican gubernatorial candidate, John Kasich, has been the beneficiary of $5.5 million from RGA, and Minnesota reports $1.8 million from the RGA to gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reports that the RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC has spent over $3.4 million on the WI race for governor. They further report that the national RGA has spent an undetermined (but very large) amount on negative independent ads in their governor's race ().

Michigan offers the most interesting, though confusing, report of all. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 501c-6 business association, contributed $5.4 million dollars to the Republican Governors Association earlier this year. The RGA then founded the RGA Michigan PAC and proceeded to raise $8.4 million in contributions from various donors throughout the country. The Michigan RGA PAC has contributed $3 million to Rick Perry for Governor of Texas and $4 million to the Michigan Republican Party, which in turn has made $4 million in independent expenditures supporting various legislative and statewide candidates. The RGA MI PAC appears to have plenty—an estimated $1.3 million--still on hand for the final stretch.

All told, over $26 million dollars has been contributed by the RGA in these five Midwestern states, alone, and we still have almost one week to go. It looks like we aren’t just “flyover” territory to some of the folks in D.C.