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Lots of cash in 43rd House race
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

Keith Farnham


Ruth Munson


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Published: 10/30/2008 3:50 PM

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Who will hold the 43rd Illinois state representative seat for the next two years?

That's the $539,077.84 question voters will answer Tuesday.

That's at least how much money that supporters and mainly the state's Democrat and Republican parties - along with painter's unions - have pumped into the race, according to donation records.

Republican Ruth Munson is seeking a her third full term since being appointed in December 2002.

Democrat Keith Farnham, making his first bid for public office, hopes to unseat her.

In the past few weeks, each campaign has sent out a slew of mailers with unflattering mug shots and hyperbolic messages.

Munson has raised at least $288,170 in cash and in-kind donations since 2008 began. A majority of it came from the Illinois Republican Party, including more than $57,000 since Oct. 21, records from the State Board of Elections show.

But sizable contributions also have come from Illinois groups such as teacher unions, medical associations and individuals and companies from the Elgin and Fox Valley area.

"It's indicative of my ability to unite people and work together with people," said Munson, who has pledged to remain tenacious in Springfield despite the deadlock between the GOP and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. "(Farnham) cares more about being elected. He cares more about his career than he does about the community."

Like Munson, a majority of Farnham's funding has come from his party, records show.

Four out of every five dollars raised has come from the Democrats and two unions, the Washington, D.C.-based International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and Chicago-based Painters District Council 14.

The two unions also gave him $30,000 in seed money back in December 2007 before he even announced his candidacy.

Only two people from Elgin have contributed to Farnham's campaign, one of them being Michael Noland, a Democrat and local state senator.

Farnham said he has long running relationships with painters and trade unions. He said he can see issues from both management and labor's perspective.

"I'm not ashamed that working people support me. Ours is a working-class area," he said. "I understand the issues."

Messages left this week for the Gavin McDonald, spokesman for the international painters union, were not returned.

Dane Willman is running as a Green Party candidate. Information about his finances was not available.

The 43rd district includes Elgin, South Elgin, East Dundee and Carpentersville.