Campaigns go negative when spending goes up, Caulkins says
Dan Caulkins doesn’t really have an issue with the size of the microphone some politicians are able to make use of during campaign season; he just wishes they would use it to express more of an inclusive tone.
“I’m not totally troubled by how much money some of them are able to spend campaigning,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “I’m more concerned with the negative tone these things take on and how the campaigns become so negative.”
Caulkins points to the primary races for governor, where Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat Jay Pritzker combined to spend more than $105 million in posting primary wins in March.
“Both of those campaigns showed a real willingness to go negative,” said Caulkins, a Decatur Republican who is running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District.
Caulkins said he knows from experience that candidates with a far less extravagant budget to work with tend to make their message to voters much more focused based.
“In my primary campaign in the 101st, I tried to spend all my time explaining and promote my attributes and positions on the issues,” he said. “I concentrated on expressing what I stand for, instead of always just degrading my opponents. I don’t find all that negativity to be necessary when you have policy positions and a true belief system.”
Spending by Rauner and Pritzker breaks down to more than $100 per vote cast, with Pritzker leading the field by shelling out upwards of $68 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Speculation is that the two will dig even deeper into their pockets for November’s general election, with Rauner having already set aside as much as $50 million for his re-election effort back in 2016.
“It’s a lot of money to throw around,” Caulkins said. “But in the end, I think people in this state are so tired of things being bad for so long they see finally getting this state back on track as being more important than anything else.”