With a $120,000 recent boost from the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), Fifth Appellate Court Justice Stephen McGlynn's campaign has crossed the $1 million milestone.
Since July 1, McGlynn, a Republican, has taken in $1,086,780. In 2006, he has raised approximately $1,229,198.
His opponent in the Nov. 7 general election, Saline County Judge Bruce Stewart, a Democrat, has raised approximately $388,700 since July 1 and $452,670 this year.
A spokesman for McGlynn's campaign said generous donations from organizations supportive of court reform are helping to pay for expensive radio and TV ads saturating the district's media markets.
The Illinois Republican Party put a hefty $567,125 towards McGlynn's recent blitz.
Even though major donations account for the vast majority of McGlynn's contributions, campaign coordinator James Morani said a large number of individual contributions indicate McGlynn has widespread appeal.
Morani said the campaign has received contributions from 1,000 different individuals and donations have come from within 30 of the district's 37 counties.
"Nearly half of those (1,000) gave less than $50," Morani said. "That's a fact."
Donors also crossed party lines for McGlynn. Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon of Fairview Heights, a Democrat, donated $1,000.
Morani said the campaign's "fairness" and "reform" message resonates with voters across the district regardless of party affiliation.
Other major contributors to McGlynn's campaign include the American Justice Partnership in Washington, D.C., $275,000; the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, $20,000; and the Illinois State Medical Society, $10,000.
Between July 1 and Oct. 8 Stewart raised $202,550 from 175 individual contributors.
Chicago law firms came through in a big way for Stewart: Power Rogers & Smith, Corboy & Demetrio and the Clifford Law Office each donated $15,000; Cooney and Conway donated $13,500; and Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen donated $10,000.
Other large contributors included M & R Testing Company of Dongola at $30,500, and Market Street Bancshares of Mt. Vernon at $12,500.
Stewart's single largest donation was reported Wednesday. The Democratic Party of Illinois paid for a $90,000 media buy.
In another development, the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) called on Stewart to apologize to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier for a campaign commercial that alleges Karmeier appointed McGlynn as a political reward.
A radio commercial paid for by Citizens for Stewart features former Judge Brighton Lockwood stating, " … Judge Stewart's opponent, who had never previously served a day as a judge, is now sitting on one of Illinois highest courts as a reward for his efforts as the political boss of the St. Clair County Republican Party, plain and simple."
ICJL President Ed Murnane said Stewart, who along with McGlynn signed a campaign fairness pledge, should take responsibility for the ad.
"Not only is this negative campaigning at its worst – it is slanderous to suggest that a respected member of our state's highest court, Justice Karmeier would appoint someone as a 'reward,'" Murnane said.
"This goes far beyond the pale of what should be tolerated," he said. "It is much worse than anything former Judge Gordon Maag or his supporters said during the 2004 campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court."
Stewart's campaign office was contacted for comment, but a phone call was not returned.
"Judge Stewart should ask Judge Lockwood to apologize to Justice Karmeier, and he should ask Judge Lockwood to communicate to Justice McGlynn exactly what he meant to say since he may have been reading from a campaign staff-prepared script," Murnane said.
He also suggested Stewart should fire whoever created or approved the radio ad's script.
Murnane said the radio spot was removed from the Citizens for Stewart website, following ICJL objections Monday.