URBANA -- Millions of dollars have been poured into political races for this primary election. On Tuesday, candidates will find out if their big investments paid off.
Political experts say the amount of money a candidate raised can help you see how they're doing in the race. There's no magic number to guarantee a win, but political experts say it usually takes about $400,000 to be a viable contender. That's a bar some of our candidates have reached and surpassed for Tuesday's primary.
When it comes to dollars and cents, political experts say front-runners usually have a lot of it by the time election day rolls around.
"People regard them as candidates who can win and likable candidates," said Brian Gaines, who is a professor for the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. "So it's probably too simple to assume if you see people who have had higher campaign spending win that they bought the election and wouldn't have won otherwise."
We took a look at how much the 13th Congressional District candidates have raised so far. Incumbent Republican Rodney Davis is way ahead of the bunch with $1,774,396. That's more than the five other candidates have combined. The next highest numbers go to Democrats Ann Callis, with $827,580, and George Gollin, with $477,563. Republican Erika Harold brought in $250,143. Experts say it's not unusual for incumbents to spend seven times as much as their challengers, but even that doesn't always guarantee a win.
"As long as you've got enough money to get an ad out and not be completely drowned out in the ad wars in TV, you can be a serious candidate," said Gaines.
Bruce Rauner has a similar lead on the GOP side of the gubernatorial race. He's already independently wealthy. Experts say, after he started campaigning, he may have created a domino effect.
"Pretty early on, people started to feel like he was a front-runner and no one was going to catch him and they didn't want to jump on the bandwagon for the other candidates," said Gaines.
Even candidates who bring in the most money sometimes lose, but the races are only going to get tighter as we get closer to November.
Each of the candidates we looked at still has some money left in their political piggy banks. If they don't win Tuesday's election, they'll need to use that money for other political purposes or give it to charity.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Millions of dollars have been spent for Tuesday's primary election. In some races, there's a clear leader when it comes to money.
In the 13th District, Republican Congressman Rodney Davis has raised more money by himself than the five people running in his race combined. It includes candidates on both sides of the ticket. He's raised more than $1.7 million. The next closest person to that is Democrat Ann Callis. She's almost $1 million behind him.
Political experts are also keeping an eye on the Republican gubernatorial race. Bruce Rauner, who has led the race so far, is a millionaire. He's been putting a lot of his own money into the race.
Even with so much spent so far, some say the most interesting parts of these races are still months away. Candidates could still raise and spend a lot of money and lose, but experts say there's a minimum amount of money needed to be considered a contender.
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