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Dueling fundraisers illustrate press for campaign cash

Republican State Rep Randy Ramey held a fundraiser in a cigar club Monday March 5, 2012. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / March 11, 2012)

Republican State Rep Randy Ramey held a fundraiser in a cigar club Monday March 5, 2012. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / March 11, 2012)

SPRINGFIELD — One of the most contentious Republican primaries in the suburbs played out March 5 not in DuPage County but at dueling fundraisers nearly 200 miles away.

A few miles north of the Capitol, Rep. Randy Ramey of Carol Stream and his supporters puffed on stogies in a smoke shop where the walls are decorated with vintage pictures of the Rat Pack, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe and a framed magazine cover of Demi Moore holding a cigar.

Closer to the Capitol, Sen. Carole Pankau of Itasca mingled with visitors in the great room of a 19th century bed-and-breakfast dominated by cut-glass chandeliers, a golden oak plank floor and an ornately carved matching fireplace. The brightly lit statehouse dome is visible through the windows.

“I am not into cigars,” said Pankau, laughing off differences in the venues and the decorum. “I can breathe easier.”

Both candidates for the new 23rd District Senate seat hoped to raise thousands of dollars from Springfield allies, lobbyists and special interests.

The Ramey-Pankau contest is one of the top 10 big-money showdowns March 20, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Both candidates have had at least $150,000 to spend since January, and they planned to pump any new dollars from Springfield into the final push back home.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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