Jeanne Ives added to “On the Radar” status last month, IL-14 joins NM-02 with two “Contenders” in a district
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced today the first 35 Republican candidates who’ve achieved “Contender” level in the NRCC Young Guns program for the 2020 election cycle, with 14th district candidates Jim Oberweis and Ted Gradel being two of the initial 35.
As with previous designations with “On the Radar”, the NRCC awards designations based solely on money raised and/or cash-on-hand at the end of the most recent reporting period. The level for “Contender” status is unclear and the NRCC did not disclose the dollar levels.
For reference, here are the year-end 2019 numbers.
Oberweis’ and Gradel’s “Contender” status makes the 14th district of Illinois only one of two districts with more than one Contender designation by the NRCC. The 2nd district of New Mexico being the other between Yvette Herrell and Claire Chase.
Unlike the New Mexico district, where the primary election is June 2nd, Illinois is less than four weeks away from the primary election on March 17.
As announced last month, 6th district candidate Jeanne Ives was added to the “On the Radar” status by the NRCC Young Guns program. She was not elevated to “Contender” status, which leads to at least a $400,000 cash-on-hand as a minimal threshold for qualifying for Contender status.
In the 14th, both Sue Rezin and Catalina Lauf stayed at the “On the Radar” level. Given Lauf’s poor fundraising late last year, the NRCC did not use her performance to remove her from the Young Guns program.
Rezin, like Ives, did not qualify for the “Contender” designation, though polling from multiple sources place Rezin as the strong #2 in the 14th, and the recent newspaper editorial board endorsements from the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald have also elevated Rezin’s name ID against Oberweis, who was endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times.
So given the dynamics of the 14th district race, one would expect a huge TV commercial ad blitz given no polling places Gradel on the threshold to win the primary, and he did not earn a high-profile newspaper editorial endorsement like Rezin and Oberweis.