Ron Severson has challenged other Republicans running for the party’s nomination for the 75th state representative district to limit the amount of money they spend on their campaigns.
“Let’s limit the amount of money we spend on this campaign,” Severson, chairman of the Grundy County Board, said this week. “Let’s set it at $10,000 each and not go over that amount. If we do, then let’s give the rest away to charity.”
State Rep. John Anthony, R-Morris, who occupies the seat now and is seeking the nomination as well, declined Severson’s challenge, saying in a written statement released Thursday that he appreciated his opponent’s sentiment but has “already crossed the threshold my opponent has asked us to abide by.”
“Throughout this campaign I will always adhere strictly to Illinois’ campaign finance laws,” Anthony said in the statement. “I am very proud of the amount of support I have received from voters in Grundy, Kendall, Will and LaSalle counties.”
Jacqueline McKinney from Minooka had indicated she was going to run for the Republican nomination, but said Thursday night she had decided to not run due to “a very serious family illness.” She said she needs to be home with her family, and said she would support Severson for the seat.
Severson said he intends to send a copy of his statement to constituents throughout the area.
“I believe it is nuts to blow through that kind of money to be in the General Assembly,” Severson said in his statement.
Severson said he does not anticipate having paid staff to help manage his primary campaign, and instead plans to do door-to-door campaigning with help from his wife and several supporters.
“To me, it’s a challenge,” Severson said. “How much can you do with a $10,000 budget? Well, you ought to be able to run a primary campaign.”
The 75th District encompasses parts of Grundy, Kendall, Will and LaSalle counties. Anthony was appointed to the seat in August to replace former state Rep. Pam Roth, R-Morris, who resigned to move to Texas with her family.
Severson said he chose $10,000 as the limit because he heard that’s how much Anthony received from Roth’s campaign fund. He declined to identify who he heard that from.
Anthony did not disclose how much money he has spent or received from the Pam Roth campaign but said he was “humbled by the outpouring of support I have received thus far during my brief time as Representative, both financial and otherwise.”
“I think it would help Anthony because it takes the pressure off of the office holder to be out there fundraising and calling people,” Severson said. “He can spend his time representing us.”
Severson said he is unsure whether he will adhere to the $10,000 limit if other candidates do not join him.
“We are broke in Illinois and we really have to tighten things. You gotta start with yourself,” Severson said. “If you’re gonna say, ‘I’m a leader,’ then you have to lead by example.”
Former local Republican official Martha Shugart has said she intends to run as a Democratic candidate for the seat.
The primary is March 18.