A few weeks ago, we profiled the education advocacy organization Stand For Children, an Oregon-based group with relatively amorphous goals who established an Illinois affiliate in September and then proceeded to dump $650,000 into eight state legislative campaigns. In total, SFC donated more outside cash to candidates than every PAC except the Illinois Education Association and split their contributions pretty evenly between Republicans and Democrats. In some races, their dollars made up the biggest proportion of a candidate's war chest.
How'd their endorsees do? It was a mixed bag. As you can see from our tally below, SFC pushed three Dems across the finish line (and four if state Rep. Keith Farnham's lead holds), lost state Rep. Mark Walker's race big, and helped keep the other three likely losses (two Democrats, 1 Republican) extremely close:
-Higgins ($175,000): Down 657 votes with 97 percent reporting
-Hutchinson ($100,000): Won by 10 points
-J. Gordon ($100,000): Won by 24 points
-Rauschenberger ($100,000): Down 495 votes with 99 percent reporting
-Farnham ($50,000): Up 736 votes with 98 percent reporting
-Flider: ($50,000): Lost by 607 votes
-Walker ($50,000): Lost by 8 points
-Biss ($10,000): Won by 10 points
It's still too early to tell what type of impact these expenditures will have on state policy. Hutchinson, for example, told the Wall Street Journal that she supports "tougher tenure rules but also higher pay for educators." Don't be surprised if education is a hot topic in Springfield this winter.