How much does a campaign cost?

February 2, 2010 9:09:07 PM PST
With election judges outnumbering voters through the day at some polling places, the cost per vote for statewide candidates today soared.The two big money candidates this year, according to Illinois election records, were Democrat Pat Quinn and Republican Andy McKenna.

Since July, Quinn has raised more than $5.3 million; McKenna has raised $5.5 million.

In McKenna's case, more than $2.5 million of it came in loans from his own wife. And, nearly all of that money was used in the last month of the contest.

Quinn's haul includes a $100,000 loan from Alderman Ed Burke's political committee and $150,000 advance from State Senator Emil Jones Jr. He also received a $5,000 contribution from Joe Berrios on January 29, which is noteworthy only because that was the same day Berrios announced that Quinn was endorsing him for Cook County assessor.

On a day when three of every four registered votes stayed home, the figure that really matters is cost-per-vote. How much of the millions in donations did it cost for each vote?

Big money candidate Pat Quinn spent about $13 dollars per vote. But with seven GOP candidates splitting the low vote, Andy McKenna's cost per vote was about $44.

Voter turnout low for primary

Illinois was the first state in the nation to hold its primary this year- and voter turnout was light in Chicago and across the state. The Chicago Board of Elections estimated that between 25 and 32 percent of votes have turned out, which puts the 2010 primaries on par with those of 2006, which had one of the lowest turnouts in city history.

Polls were open until 7 p.m.

Democrats are trying to hold on to the governor's office and the U.S. Senate seat that once belonged to President Barack Obama. Also of interest- the race for Cook County Board president, where many candidates are vying for the spot.

It's the earliest primary in Illinois history- roughly six weeks after the holidays. The light voter turnout is typical for a non-presidential election year. And, the early morning snow didn't help.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. across the state and at a Lincoln Park elementary school, the number of votes cast at 2 p.m. was just 150.

"It is disappointing. I was the 67th vote counted today and it is right around 2:00, so it would be nice to see people come out," said Al Staton, voter.

The same turnout was expected in the suburbs. In DuPage County, primaries historically bring in about 35% of voters.

Some of the voters who made it to the polls said they were spurred on by issues they're passionate about.

"One of the main issues right now is the amount of money we're spending right now that our kids have to take on in the future. That's one of the main issues we need to look at. Money doesn't grow on trees. We have to pay for these things somehow. It's going to be us. It's going to be our kids," said Dave Fingado, voter.

"The Illinois government has been so corrupt for so long. I have to say it was very difficult trying to make a choice. It was like throw the bums out, but who do you vote for?" Kelly Martin, voter, said.

Even if there's a surge of voters Tuesday evening, the Chicago Board of Elections said the turnout would be a little more than 30-percent.