State Rep. Daniel Biss leads fundraising for Illinois Senate seat

Marshall Cohen

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State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) has a significant fundraising lead over Republican challenger Marc Levine in the race to represent Evanston in the Illinois State Senate, according to contribution disclosure forms filed last month.

Biss raised $128,039 for his state Senate campaign in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Levine only brought in $4,000 during the same time period.

The two are competing for the open seat currently held by state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), who plans to retire when his term ends in January 2013.

While Biss announced his candidacy in November, Levine only threw his hat into the race in January. This explains the six-figure fundraising gap, said his campaign manager Jeremy Rose.

“Marc only got in the race a few weeks before the filing deadline,” Rose said. “Our focus was geared toward building a support system. We have some catching up to do, absolutely, but that’s what we’re least worried about.”

Levine told the daily his campaign recently hired a professional fundraiser and has started to engage the Chicago business community.

“We’ll have no trouble closing that gap,” Levine said. “We have just started this process.”

The report shows Levine donated $3,000 to his own campaign in late 2011 and also received $1,000 from a Chicago resident.

Biss padded his nearly $125,000 funding lead primarily with contributions from individual donors. His campaign received $86,500 in itemized individual contributions during the fourth quarter, according to the filing.

The state representative transferred $34,500 in from his house committee and other fundraising committees, including those from political action committees and businesses.

One of Biss’ larger contributions included $5,000 from the Illinois PAC For Education to his state representative fund.