Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias raised $1.8 million to date for his Senate bid, while his likely Democratic rivals have zero dollars in their warchests.
Giannoulias has been fund-raising since March. Federal fund-raising reports, public next week, will show that Giannoulias raised about $670,000 in the second quarter of 2009.
He said he was "humbled and honored" that in his "horrible economy, people were so generous."
Giannoulias is also in a position to pour some of his own money in his campaign; his federal financial disclosure statement--which requires that only the range of assets be listed--will show that he is worth between $13 million and $62 million, I'm told.
Merchandise Mart mogul Chris Kennedy, the son of Bobby Kennedy, has been organizing his Senate bid for months and has a potential formidable fund-raising network and some star-powered relatives.
Still, Kennedy will be starting from scratch--and federal campaign caps on donations make it very time consuming to raise big pots of money. Chicago Urban League Chief Cheryle Jackson just opened her exploratory bid.
"It takes time to raise money," said Giannoulias. People who wrote him checks for $50,000 in his state campaigns--with no donor limits--are so hard up now that he's lucky to get a $500 check from the same contributor, he said.
He plans to "officially" launch his campaign in the coming weeks.