Originally Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012, 5:53 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 31, 2012, 7:31 pm

Bustos, Schilling dash across district seeking last-minute votes

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Photo: Photo Illustration by Todd Mizener
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, and Democrat challenger Cheri Bustos of East Moline

U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, and Democrat Cheri Bustos, of East Moline, are engaged in a last dash for votes, campaigning up and down the sprawling 17th Congressional District.

On Wednesday, Rep. Schilling launched a 14-stop "Bobs for Jobs" tour that will include stops in Aledo, Sterling, Geneseo and Kewanee.

Ms. Bustos has launched a "Right Priorities" tour that will take her to Peoria and Galesburg on Thursday and she plans to rack 1,000 miles campaigning across the 14 counties in the district between now and Tuesday's election.

The campaigns also released their final TV commercials this week.

In his closing appeal to voters, Rep. Schilling sticks with the message that he's a bipartisan leader in Congress.

He also warns against the approaching fiscal cliff in January, which he said could lead to tax increases unless Congress agrees not to let tax cuts instituted by President George W. Bush to expire.

Ms. Bustos supports allowing tax rates to go up for those earning more than $1 million annually but Rep. Schilling wants the tax cuts left in place for all income brackets.

"If we allow the tax hikes to go into effect in January, it's going to cost, in Illinois alone, around 32,000 jobs," Rep. Schilling says in the ad. "It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican, this is about fixing things so that people can get to work."

In her final commercial, Ms. Bustos sticks with the issues she's focused on in her campaign.

"Congressman Schilling supports tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, I oppose them," she says in her ad. "He'd end Medicare's guaranteed benefit, I'll protect it."

Rep. Schilling is opposed to the Bring Jobs Home Act, which Ms. Bustos supports. The proposed bill would end a tax deduction companies can use when they move overseas.On Medicare, Ms. Bustos opposes Republican plans to reform the program by paying seniors a fixed subsidy to buy private insurance.

The 17th District race is one of the most expensive in the nation. By Wednesday, independent expenditures in the district had topped $9 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Ms. Bustos has raised $1.9 million in the election cycle to date and Rep. Schilling has raised $2.2 million.

17th Congressional District Cash:

Candidates' fundraising to date: $4.1 million
— U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona: $2.2 million
— Cheri Bustos (Democrat): $1.9 million

Campaign expenditures to date: $12.3 million
— Rep. Schilling: $1.9 million
— Ms. Bustos: $1.4 million
— Expenditures by others: $9 million

Source: Federal Election Commission