November 1

Several House races are poised to set a new spending record. The most expensive House general election contest in 2002 was between incumbent Rep. Tom Berns (R-103) and challenger Naomi Jakobsson(D-103), who combined to spend $942K. Jakobsson won, and her re-election effort this year is running at about a third of that. But there are three House contests this Fall already above $1 million: Rep. Ricca Slone (D-92) vs. Aaron Schock (R-92), at $1,252,274; Rep. Careen Gordon (D-75) vs. Doug Hayes (R-75), at $1,123,516, and Rep. Bill Grunloh (D-108) vs. David Reis (R-108), at $1,053,438.

While Forby Summers has already smashed the old spending record for a state senate general election, they are one of three Senate races poised to surpass the previous record of $1.98 million (Garret-Parker in 2002). The 59th District contest leads the pack, at $2,042,520. Sen. Pat Welch (D-38) and Gary Dahl (R-38) have come close with combined receipts of $1,559,248. Sen. John Sullivan (D-47), long touted as the top Tier One target, comes in third; his race against Tom Ernst (R-47) shows a combined $1,518,712. And Patrick Ouimet (D-32) has reported about twice what Sen. Pamela Althoff has raised; they combined to show $1,351,163.

Whether any of this is money well spent, or whether any of these candidates are worth the effort, remains to be seen. Bear in mind that final totals depend on what the candidates actually spent, which is often higher than what they've reported raising by Election Day.