Reporting Derrick Blakley
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Republican race for Jesse Jackson’s old Congressional seat is so close, we don’t know who won yet.
Only 23 votes separate the top two candidates. Paul McKinley holds the slight edge over Eric Wallace. A winner will be declared after the absentee ballots are counted.
But perhaps the bigger story is Robin Kelly, and her win. Some say money bought her the race. CBS 2′s Derrick Blakely crunched the numbers on how much each vote cost the candidate.
In the crowded Democratic Primary, the big winner was the biggest spender, Democratic nominee, Robin Kelly.
Asked if she thought money made the difference, Kelly responded, “Really, in my heart I do not. We had a game plan from Dec. 2 but we carried it all the way through.”
But look at the numbers. Kelly spent about $600,000 and won 59,474 votes for roughly $10 a vote. Compare that to runner-up Debbie Halvorson, who spent only $75,000 and got 14.525 votes for $5.16 per vote.
But New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $2.4 million in TV ads targeting Halvorson. Count that as Kelly’s spending, and her cost soars to $50 a vote.
Del Marie Cobb ran Alderman Anthony Beale’s losing campaign.
“This was so targeted and so much money was put into it, this was taking it to another level,” said Del Marie Cobb.
In Washington, after meeting with Vice President Biden on gun control, Bloomberg took a victory lap of his own.
“The voters of this congressional district, they and their children are at risk with guns on the street,” said Bloomberg.
Asked if the money would influence her, Kelly said, “I won in the state of Illinois. If I voted like the mayor of New York wanted me to vote, I would be a one term congresswoman, for sure.”
Ironically, Kelly says she supports campaign finance reform that would eliminate unlimited spending by outside groups, the very kind of spending from Bloomberg that she benefited her.