Overall Kilbride retention funding surpasses $3 million; NPR profiles the contest

With the disclosure of large contributions on both sides of Justice Tom Kilbride's retention effort over the last five days, the campaign has met and exceeded the $3 million fundraising mark.

An updated ICPR analysis of fundraising in the retention campaign shows that the Democratic Justice's fundraising is outpacing that of his leading opponent by almost a 4-to-1 margin. Kilbride, from the 3rd Judicial District, has raised more than $2.48 million since July 1; more than half of that ($1,425,000) has come from the Democratic Party of Illinois. JUSTPAC, the Illinois Civil Justice League's political committee, has reported more than $667,000 in contributions.

(Illinois' previous most expensive retention campaign was logged a decade ago, when Supreme Court Justice Charles Freeman raised $235,799 in his successful bid to win another 10-year term.)

With combined fundraising of more than $3.1 million, the Kilbride retention campaign has become the nation's most expensive one-candidate retention election and the nation's second most expensive such contest, ever.

The campaign's oversized pricetag has drawn national attention -- even that of NPR.

The station visited Illinois, trekking through Kilbride's district and visiting ICPR's headquarters as well, to learn more about the campaign and the issues at play.