Krishnamoorthi off to fast fund-raising start in new 8th District
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporteremail@example.com July 18, 2011 1:40PM
Updated: March 11, 2012 10:54AM
The $412,647 that northwest suburban congressional candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi has raised in the last six weeks makes him the most successful Democrat in the country seeking an open seat, his campaign reported Monday.
Three other Democrats seeking to knock off incumbents have raised more but among the 33 open seats, Krishnamoorthi is tops.
The fund-raising lead is good, said Pete Giangreco, an advisor to Krishnamoorthi’s Democratic primary rival Tammy Duckworth, but not enough to make up for Krishnamoorthi’s monumental support gap in Duckworth’s first poll, reported last week by the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
That poll of 400 likely voters showed Duckworth leading Krishnamoorthi 69 percent to 8 percent, even though Krishnamoorthi announced his campaign in early June and Duckworth only jumped in in the last few weeks.
Krishnamoorthi’s campaign dismissed the poll as name recognition for Duckworth, who ran and narrowly lost a congressional race in a district with much of the same territory as this one six years ago. But Krishnamoorthi’s name was also in front of voters last year as he narrowly lost the Democratic primary for state comptroller.
“I started with 6 percent support in the state comptroller’s race and came within an eyelash of winning,” Krishnamoorthi said. “What’s going to be key is: Who can bring to the table the private sector ideas to revive the economy. On that issue, I think I’ll do very well.”
Giangreco said now that Duckworth has filed her papers to run and started forming her finance committee, she’ll counteract Krishnamoorthi’s early fund-raising advantage pretty quickly.
“She raised $4.5 million last time — Tammy’s never had trouble raising money in the past,” Giangreco said.
The newly-drawn 8th congressional district connects Democratic voters in Elgin and Carpentersville with pockets in Lombard, Bensenville and Wheeling.
The current 8th district is more Republican and is represented by Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh. The new district does not include Walsh and Democrats expect him to run in another district, though Republicans are challenging the new Democrat-drawn map in court.
With a higher-than-average 12 to 13 percent concentration of Asian-American voters, the new district has attracted two Asian-American Democratic candidates into a high-profile primary election fight to represent what used to include a lot of suburban Republican territory.
Krishnamoorthi, 37, is president of a high-tech company, Sivananthan Laboratories, that makes night-vision goggles and solar cells. He served as a deputy to former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, as issues director for Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign and as an adviser to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Duckworth, 43, was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who lost her legs when she was shot down over Iraq. After her close loss to Republican Rep. Peter Roskam in 2006, she served as Illinois’ director of Veterans Affairs and was then named by Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.