That's the thinking of state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, who said his Republican opponent, Pat Sullivan, spent perhaps $50,000 in the final week of the campaign, only to lose by a wide margin to Koehler on Nov. 6.
Final campaign spending reports are not yet available, but Peoria residents, seeing many television ads, numerous huge signs, and newspaper-style mailers, some deceptively titled, were subjected to expensive yet similar campaigns for several Republicans, all orchestrated by Schock and his chief of staff Steve Shearer, Koehler said.
Koehler termed Shearer "the Karl Rove of Illinois," for his involvement in these campaigns.
"Schock now has to explain to his donors why they failed," he said. "The message is that Aaron does not have coat-tails," Koehler said.
The Republicans reportedly receiving Schock's campaign contributions included Sullivan, Frank Ierulli who lost the race for Peoria County State's Attorney, Bobby Schilling who lost his seat in Congress in the 17th District to Democrat Cheri Bustos, and perhaps the candidates who challenged and lost to Democratic incumbents on the Peoria County Board.
Schock won only his own race for Congress in the severely gerrymandered 18th Congressional district, designed so a Republican would win.
Claims that Schock won overwhelmingly are laughable, given the make up of the district. His Democratic opponent Steve Waterworth ran a low key grassroots campaign with little money.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Schock had $2.9 million in his campaign funds as of mid-October. He spent $1.5 million, and obviously not on his own campaign against an unknown and under-funded opponent. There are 70 pages of itemized expenses in Schock's report, many listed as American Express credit card receipts.
The Illinois State Board of Elections website shows Schock giving Frank Ierulli $5,000 on Nov. 2.
Why did Schock fund these challengers? Perhaps it's because he wants to rise to governor, and must prove to fellow Republicans that he's a power broker, so he can win the Republican nomination. The governor's race takes place in 2014.
Sen. Dick Durbin is expected to run for another seat in the U.S. Senate, so it's unlikely Schock would challenge him.
It will be interesting to see Schock's next move, and whether his financial backers will continue to support him given the failures of the Peoria campaigns.
-- Elaine Hopkins