If Democratic voter turnout is low in the Democratically-leaning 12th Congressional District this November, a long-time Republican lawmaker from southern Illinois has a shot at winning, says a political observer.
David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said that while incumbent Rep. William Enyart, D- Belleville, is favored to win, it should be encouraging to Republicans that his rival, State Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, raised more money in the last quarter.
“Enyart is favored to win because he’s the incumbent, but this is one the Republicans think they can win,” Yepsen said. “It’s a good sign for Republicans that Bost has out-raised Enyart.”
From April 1 to June 30, Bost raised $283,407, while Enyart raised $250,588.
The district includes the counties of St. Clair and part of Madison, Jefferson, Perry, Franklin, Williamson, Union, Alexander, Pulaski, Jackson, Randolph and Monroe.
The seat had been held for 20 years by Belleville Democrat Jerry Costello, who chose not to run for an 11th term in 2012.
Enyart, who had served as Illinois Adjutant General before running for office, was slated as the Democratic candidate after the primary election winner Brad Harriman pulled out of the race for health reasons in May 2012.
In the 2012 general election, Enyart defeated Republican challenger Jason Plummer of O'Fallon by a margin of 51.7 to 42.7 percent.
In looking at St. Clair County results in that election, there was an overall 64 percent turnout rate. Enyart had 56 percent of the vote to Plummer's 38 percent. Green candidate Paula Bradshaw captured approximately 4 percent.
In the primary election held in March in St. Clair County, there was an approximate 15 percent turnout. Bost received 227 more votes than Enyart, edging him by about 50-49 percent.
Bost has served as state representative in the 115th District since 1995, having won re-election 10 times.
As of June 30, Enyart has raised more than $1.2 million and maintains a balance of $677,498 in his war chest, the latest campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows.
So far in the 2014 election cycle, Enyart has received nearly $700,000 from political action committees, accounting for 56 percent of his total funding.
The bulk of Enyart’s PAC contributions have come from leadership PACs, accounting for more than $100,000 in donations.
As far as large individual donations go, lawyers and law firms have donated more than $140,000 to Enyart’s campaign, with the Simmons Law Firm, an asbestos firm in Alton, supplying $23,000 of that total.
While Bost out-raised Enyart in the second quarter, he continues to trail Enyart overall.
As of June 30, Bost has raised $636,564, spent $288,898 and maintains $347,666 cash on hand.
PAC contributions account for 38 percent - $240,451 - of Bost’s total donations received.