Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The $55 million man

Many words were uttered and quickly forgotten during the recently concluded governor's race in Illinois about the fundraising prowess of Rod Blagojevich (and all the federal investigations spawned by that harvest).

When you look at some historical perspective, the numbers are truly staggering.

(Total fundraising with number of active years in parentheses)

Blagojevich -- $55,329,366 (6)

George Ryan -- $24,438,469 (29)

Jim Ryan -- $21,113,264 (13)

Judy B. Topinka -- $15,442,485 (27)

Jim Edgar -- $9,158,286 (22)

Glenn Poshard -- $5,134,728 (2)

Dawn Netsch -- $2,416,184 (20)

When looked at on a per-year basis, the fundraising edge Blagojevich has over every other candidate for governor in recent Illinois history is even more shocking.

Blagojevich -- $9,221,561

Glenn Poshard -- $2,567,364

Jim Ryan -- $1,624,097

George Ryan -- $842,705

Judy B. Topinka -- $571,943

Jim Edgar -- $416,285

Dawn Netsch -- $120,809

These numbers are not perfect -- they are not adjusted for inflation or the offices the candidates were seeking. Still, even with those adjustments, Blagojevich would still have an enormous edge over all the politicians.

I remember when pundits were describing George Ryan as a fundraising machine. His was a rickety wagon compared to the Blagojevich Lamborghini.

How he got the Lamborghini is another question. One that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is exploring in great detail.

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