In his fifth run for Congress in Illinois’s 13th District, Rodney Davis’s congressional campaign spent just about $5 million.
This is a $928,201 increase from the 2017-2018 election cycle in which he spent $4,085,715. The highest amount Davis’s campaign spent last cycle was $2,563,967 to FPI Strategies, a risk management organization, representing a majority of his spending. The company has contributed to Davis’s last two campaigns.
Thus far in the 2021-2022 election cycle, Davis’s re-election campaign has spent around roughly $90,000 on media which is about 26% of his spending, according to Federal Election Commission data for the first half of 2021. Davis’s campaign has also spent funds toward administration, fundraising, salaries and other expenses, including some unclassifiable expenditures.
Along with a wide variety of other campaign expenditures, some of the largest include the Gula Graham Group, a business consulting organization, Madella Strategies, LLC, a campaign consulting organization and The Lukens Company, a political consulting organization. These organizations have also been a part of Davis’s previous congressional campaigns.
During the 2017-2018 cycle, Davis’s top disbursements included Strategic Media Services, Gula Graham Group, Illinois Republican Party, Palomar Marketing and Productions and PNC Bank. Also, his top expenditure for 2017-2018 was $1,946,888 and for 2015-2016 it was $475,482.
According to OpenSecrets.org, an informational and highly-regarded site covering politicians and their money, Davis’s campaign spent more money in large part because he ran against a familiar opponent: Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.
In the 2018 election, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had mistakenly called the Illinois 13th congressional race too early, thus declaring Londrigan as the winner. However, various ongoing live polls that evening, including that from the New York Times, had Davis as the clear winning candidate. In a short amount of time, Blitzer reversed his announcement of the race and finally declared Davis as the winner.
According to Londrigan’s campaign, she was not ready to throw in the towel. Furthermore, just several months after the election, she vowed to run against Davis once again. Both candidates soon ran against each other once more, but this time, the results weren’t as close.
In the 2020 congressional race, Davis defeated Londrigan at 54.5% to her 45.5%. This differentiated from their 2018 race which resulted in Davis at 50.4% and Londrigan at 49.6%.
In a 2019 article for CU-CitizenAccess, retired political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield Kent Redfield said the race was certainly competitive.
“Four million dollars indicates a very competitive election, and if you look at the numbers for Davis’s opponent in 2018, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, she actually spent a little bit more than he did, about 4.2 million,” said Redfield, who specializes in campaign finance. “When you get to the 2018 midterm, the party opposite the president usually picks up some seats because normally there’s a surge in the president’s party during the presidential election.”
This year, another challenger to Davis’s 13th District seat is David Palmer, a democratic candidate who has already been meeting with voters in Champaign-Urbana, particularly students on the University of Illinois campus.