New rankings, including 1st quarter fundraising and recent videos of interviews shifted the rankings, and narrows the field of viable candidates.
The new rankings of April 16, 2022 are as follows with initial ranking in “( )”:
- Catalina Lauf (1) — lead over #2 very small, and had surprisingly weak 1st quarter fundraising with questionable spending
- Jerry Evans (3) — the surging candidate and as of 4/16/22, is the only candidate who can overtake Lauf and win the primary
- Mark Carroll (4) — impressive first interview on 4/11, and his experience dating back to working on Congressman Henry Hyde’s House Judiciary Committee in the mid 1990s reminds conservatives of the “old way” of doing things in Congress
- Cassandra Tanner Miller (2) — fading fast, as her FEC filing shows, as her campaign at end of March is under water and in debt
- Susan Hathaway-Altman (6) — The surprise petition filer last month, and only filed with the FEC in April, while she has no FEC fundraising to date, she has shown a semblance of a campaign with literature and speaking at events, including in Marengo on April 6.
- Andrea Heeg (5) — for someone who declared her candidacy in late January, in two months, did not raise or spend $5K which exempted her from filing a campaign disclosure report with the FEC.
UPDATE 4/20/2022, 1:10PM CDT: Catalina Lauf issues a statement on 1st quarter fundraising and it can be viewed here. Note how Lauf focuses on cycle-to-date (2/23/2021 – 3/31/2022) results but not 1st 3 months of 2022.
Daily Herald‘s Russell Lissau documented the entire IL-11 field the best in his article posted Tuesday, and can be viewed here.
The 6-candidate field competing for the Republican nomination for the 11th Congressional District now includes only two, possibly a third candidate with a realistic shot at competing for and winning the primary on June 28.
As of the mid-April, there are less than 5 weeks before 11th District primary voters begin casting ballots for the primary.
No candidate has locked up and can go on cruise control as was witnessed by McHenry County voters in the 7-candidate Republican primary field in 2020 in the old IL-14, when then-state Senator Jim Oberweis’ decades of name ID and deep pockets delivered a win in the crowded field with a plurality of just under 26% of the primary vote.
Here is the fundraising grids for all IL-11 candidates who had filed with the FEC by March 31. Please note, Susan Hathaway-Altman (R, unicorporated Geneva) filed her FEC paperwork on April 4, and is not included with 1st quarter fundraising reports:
To-date, none of the national committees or super PACs have purchased TV advertising time in the “Likely Democrat” rated 11th District. Media buys for the fall can change at any time, but thus far, the national focus backed up with outside campaign spending in Illinois is in the 17th District.
Immediate dates to watch for in the 11th District primary include the following:
- By May 16, candidate must file their Financial Disclosure statements with the U.S. House clerk in compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, with only limited ability to file an extension given the date of the primary
- May 19, first day vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots will hit-the-street for voting by mail. The 8 local election authorities began accepting applications for VBM ballots last week
With balloting beginning on May 19, the candidates should have had at least two mailers and 1 to 2 TV commercials published by then (Oberweis’ coverage in IL-14 by the start of early voting in 2020 helped him secure a large enough lead which he did not lose).
From my latest observations including feedback shared by multiple friends of McHenry County Blog, here is the rankings of the 6 Republican candidates competing for IL-11’s Republican nomination.
These rankings will likely change as additional information is published, or the candidates reach out to voters through grassroots campaigning, mailers and TV commercial advertising.
#1: Catalina Lauf of Woodstock, the barely nominal frontrunner after weaker than expected fundraising and average interview
Lauf’s cash receipts for first quarter of 2022 being disappointing is an understatement. Lauf had the opportunity to put the primary race away with a strong quarter of fundraising, but raised less than $200K in the first 90 days of 2022.
None of her current primary opponents had even declared their candidacies until mid-to-late January.
Lauf’s cash receipts/disbursements (excluding in-kind) for Q1 are:
- Receipts: $153,844.12 (excluding a $2,300 in-kind from her sister)
- Expenses: $261,579.26
- Cash-on-hand: $148,241.26
- Quarterly cash burn rate: 170%
With Lauf’s entry into the IL-16 primary in late February of 2021, she got a lot of attention given Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s (R, Channahon) hostility to President Trump in early January which continues to this day.
Clearly, no longer running against Kinzinger has hurt her fundraising, and the self-described lover of start-ups did not adapt her campaign, which included:
- Paying her two main, local consultants $13K EACH for the 1st quarter. The consultants making $4,333.33/month are:
- Nick Grigoletti of Woodstock, who relocated from Chicago last year
- Joselin Rivera of Harvard who first started working for Lauf’s campaign late last year
- Continued consulting through controversial vendor X Strategies, LLC, co-owned by Alex Bruesewitz for $7,500 for the quarter
- Questionable political contributions to non IL-11 and out-of-state campaigns, which Lauf could have/should have contributed through her Defense of Freedom PAC which finished he 1st quarter with over $20K cash:
- Joe Kent (R, WA-03) received $2,000
- Jed Davis (R, IL House 75) received $500
- Orland Park VIllage President Keith Pekau (R, IL-06) for $150
- Matthew Rauschert (R, IL House 71) received $500
Lauf’s campaign also donated $1,500 to Project Canvas of Aurora, a 501(c)(3) organization with a noble mission, but Lauf, like with the political contributions, could have donated through her Defense of Freedom PAC and helped her campaign save money. The disbursements can be viewed here.
Lauf’s interview with Freedom Illinois’ Chrissi Bretz on April 12, was not her best interview. Lauf continued showing she cannot tell the truth when she told Bretz she worked 5 years in the private sector before going to the Trump White House.
The truth, after graduating from Miami of Ohio at the end of 2013, she worked for 4 years in the private sector, but the only private sector employer known is her 2016-2017 employment by Uber of Chicago.
Her 5th year post-college was her 10-month employment as a field director for then-Governor Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign at the beginning of 2018 and lasting through mid-November.
Tuesday night’s interview also brought up her lack of life experiences (military service, marriage, parenthood, business career in her own name, lack of real property ownership in her name) as well as living with her parents at their Woodstock home.
While Lauf defending her lack of marriage and parenthood admirably, accurately pointing out she will not be rushed into such important life-changing events, she attempted to defend the living with her parents pointing out she was not living at her parents’ home, but in a property owned by her parents.
While it’s not uncommon for a person’s address-of-record and their place-of-abode to be different, observers of the reference accurately point out Lauf does not own property in her own name.
Also, on her recent FEC filing, Lauf’s campaign paid a total of $3,060 to a Carol Jean Properties, Inc for “RENT”.
Noting that Lauf’s campaign website does not list a physical location for a campaign office, nor can one be found on Google, one must assume the $3K rental could be housing, which is legal under campaign finance laws.
Looking up the Carol Jean Properties, Inc. on the Illinois secretary of state website, traces the ownership of the company to one of Lauf’s parents’ neighbors in Seneca Township in Woodstock, a Mr. & Mrs. John E. Stassen.
The two payments of $1,530 were both made during the month of February, and whether this “RENT” payment is for Lauf’s place of abode, or for a campaign office about to open remains to be seen. For reference, Lauf’s IL-14 2020 campaign paid just under $1,200/month for its office rental in Crystal Lake, according to 2020 FEC filings.
Finally, Lauf at the Tuesday night interview, was asked to defend this statement from her campaign website, with my emphasis added:
“But know that by electing me as your Representative, you will be sending a fighter to Congress.”
Lauf was asked to give a work experience example of how she’s not been afraid to disrupt the system, and shown she’s not afraid to disrupt the system in order to prove to voters she can do as she claims, to be a fighter.
Lauf went into some vapid story about her sister’s San Francisco-based start-up company challenging Big Pharma in the area of nutraceuticals. This was a reference to Begin Health, Inc., incorporated in Delaware but based in San Francisco trying to challenge Big Pharma.
First, Lauf cannot produce proof this really happened, and a Google search does not reveal such a fight taking place. Second, the prebiotic products her sister’s start-up competes does not require Food & Drug Administration (FDA) review let alone approval. Big Pharma would only be interested in a direct competitor in an approved FDA space.
Again, Lauf challenged telling the truth, and one of many reasons why the new #2 ranked candidate is surging.
#2: Jerry Evans of Warrenville
Jerry Evans is surging, as his FEC quarterlies and his local endorsements would indicate.
Evans formally launched his campaign on January 26, and reported the following for the period January 26 through March 31, in cash:
- Cash receipts: $112,782 ($394.20 in-kinds excluded)
- Cash expenses: $28,975.04
- Cash-on-hand: $83,806.96 ($23,200 cannot be spent in primary)
- Burn rate: 25.7%
Evans, in 65 days, accomplished the metrics from above. His campaign’s burn rate was kept low due to prudent spending for campaign consulting, which totaled less than $10K for the reporting period, and includes a general consultant and his campaign manager, the latter from Oak Brook.
Evans’ notable campaign contributors include the following:
- James Economos, D.D.S., $1,000
- Major (ret.) Michael Pierce, $2,000 (Pierce explored a bid for IL-11 last year)
- Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice S. Louis Rathje, $1,000
- Former Circuit Judge Robert Spence of Batavia, $500
- Former U.S. Senate candidate (2020) Tom Tarter, $1,000
- Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Bob Thomas, $1,000
Evans has definitely grown and improved as a candidate in the two years since the 2020 primary.
Evans’ music school which bears his name in Wheaton was challenged during the pandemic, and Evans, as the business owner of a brick-and-mortar business employed at least a dozen people at his Illinois-based business and was challenged first-hand to keep his business open during all the mandates and emergency orders of the pandemic.
The COVID pandemic response by Evans as a small business owner was explored thoroughly during his interview with Chrissi Bretz of Illinois Freedom Wednesday night, including his experience to keep the staff of his music school employed, and offering students and their families the option of virtual lessons.
Evans, in 2022, continues to display growth, including the open and public endorsement of former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Thomas. The April 4 endorsement by former state Representative Jeanne Ives (R, Wheaton) factored minimally into Evans’ 1st quarter fundraising.
To date, Evans remains the only candidate thus far in the IL-11 Republican primary field to be endorsed by current/former elected officials from Illinois, and additional officials donated to his campaign.
Evans has been making media appearances on Newsmax and Fox News, which was something not seen in his 2020 race.
Evans, for the first time, will be filing a Financial Disclosure statement, which he did not file during his 2020 bid, which will reveal information about Evans’ earnings and assets not disclosed in his first congressional bid 2 years ago.
Evans’ campaign clearly surging, and with the fading of the establishment Republican candidate, can grow and accelerate to a primary victory on June 28.
#3: Mark Carroll of North Aurora
North Aurora Village Trustee Mark Carroll, 48, moved up to #3, primarily from his interview with Chrissi Bretz on April 11.
Carroll remains unknown by many in McHenry County, while being the only elected official among all six candidates, having served as a North Aurora village trustee since May of 2014, and has won two elected terms since his initial appointment.
In addition to being a village trustee, Carroll served for 5 years on the North Aurora Plan Commission.
Carroll is an attorney with 20 years of experience, and all indications, Carroll has been a back office transactional attorney for the past 5 years.
Included in his resume’ is Washington D.C. experience working for the House Judiciary Committee during the time of Congressman Henry Hyde’s chairmanship in the mid to late 1990s.
Carroll’s work in DC makes him the only candidate apart from Lauf with work experience in Washington, though it was over 25 years ago.
The married father of 3 sons, oldest being 18, had campaign staffing issues early in his campaign, which all indications show has been corrected.
Carroll’s messaging has taken a “Restore America” and “Experience Matters” themes, the latter a clear shot at all of his primary opponents, especially nominal frontrunner Lauf.
Carroll has begun aggressively scheduling events across the district, and is one of the featured speakers at the We the People of McHenry County meeting on April 25. Primary voters will see more of Carroll in McHenry County as the campaign season proceeds into late April and into May.
Carroll had a solid interview with Chrissi Bretz recently, and his responses reflected a thoughtful approach to all of the issues while showing his conservatism, with a proven record as an elected official to back up his positions.
Working as a college intern through his alma mater for the House Judiciary Committee during storied pro-life champion Henry Hyde’s tenure as chairman brings nostalgia among those who remember the champion for the pro-life cause.
During his interview with Bretz, Carroll was pressed about supporting the entire Republican ticket in the fall, even if he does not win the primary. A follow-up question to Carroll asked if he would openly back the Republican nominee in the Kane County Board’s 2nd District race between former Village President Dale Berman (D, North Aurora) and the Republican nominee. Carroll made clear he would openly oppose the former village president who appointed him as a trustee in 2014 and a plan commissioner in 2009.
Carroll also published on Friday his detailed campaign platform, which will generate discussion as his campaign message theme is “Restore America: Experience Matters“.
Carroll’s biggest opportunity for his candidacy, and it will make or break him, is his fundraising. Carroll entered the race in mid-February, and his campaign disclosure to the FEC showed it, through his cash receipts and expenditures:
- Cash Receipts: $17,239 (excludes a $1,126.39 in-kind contribution)
- Cash Expenses: $14,061.25
- Cash-on-Hand: $3,177.75
- Burn Rate: 81.6%
Local leaders, while liking what they hear from his messaging, will be cautious of Carroll’s campaign unless he can show, very quickly he can raise the money to get his message out in mailings and TV advertising.
#4: Cassandra Tanner Miller of Elgin
As discussed yesterday, Cassandra Tanner Miller’s, also known as “CTM”, campaign is in freefall, and yesterday’s filing of her FEC campaign disclosure report for the 1st quarter proved what had long been suspected of her campaign is in disarray.
Discerning voters must remember, CTM was seen as the establishment’s choice to face Congressman Bill Foster (D, Naperville) in the fall.
She’ll be fortunate to stay in the race.
Her cash numbers, and she had no in-kinds, are:
- Cash receipts: $2,525
- Cash expenses: $599.52
- Cash-on-hand: $1,925.48
- Unpaid debts: $48,302.18
The tragic story of CTM’s son’s passing is well known, and her diligent work to pass “Colton’s Law” with unanimous support in the Illinois General Assembly in 2021 proved she can get major legislation passed, while not serving in an elected body.
Additionally, CTM began her Colton’s Legacy foundation, which will be documented with metrics on her Financial Disclosure statement by mid-May.
None of her story has resonated or gained traction with Republican primary voters and especially with campaign donors, and her numbers reflect this.
The unpaid debts listed represent amounts owed to vendors through March 31 which had not been paid.
CTM’s campaign has rescheduled her fundraiser postponed from late March to April 27 in Geneva. Whether the event and additional fundraising is enough to save her campaign remains to be seen.
#5: Susan Hathaway-Altman of unincorporated Geneva
#6: Andrea Heeg of unincorporated Geneva
These are the two IL-11 Republican candidates I see little to no sign of competing for the nomination.
Both candidates are from the same neighborhood in central Kane County, the exclusive Mill Creek Subdivision in unincorporated Blackberry Township.
Heeg, who filed her candidacy with the FEC in January, has had over two months to launch a semblance of a campaign, outside of collecting petition signatures. She has to date, yet to launch her campaign’s website.
And Hathaway-Altman has
n’t even filed any paperwork with the FEC filed her paperwork with the FEC on Monday, April 4, after her surprise petition filing on March 14.
The only reason Hathaway-Altman ranked ahead of Heeg is due to her campaign producing some campaign literature which have been pictured on social media. Not a lot but more than Heeg has shown through mid-April.
Unless I see something drastic from either of these two women, I have to relegate them to also-rans.
What do you think of the 11th Congressional District Republican primary field revised rankings? Are they valid? Please discuss in comments, and please keep all comments on the points raised in this article.