Cheryle Jackson announces $345,000 in funds raised for Illinois US Senate Bid

Cheryle Jackson, who once served as a top aide to disgraced former Gov.

Rod Blagojevich, says she's raised $354,000 in her bid to become Illinois' next U.S. senator.

The dollar totals puts the former gubernatorial spokeswoman third among the Democrats seeking Barack Obama's old post -- the same seat that Blagojevich allegedly schemed to sell for personal gain.

Jackson announced her fundraising tally Tuesday during a stop at the Springfield Amtrak station where she promoted the Obama administration's push to expand the nation's high speed rail network.

It was her first campaign swing outside of Chicago, where she had been serving as chief of the Chicago Urban League since leaving Blagojevich's side three years ago. She plans to make stops this week in Champaign-Urbana and Carbondale on what she is calling a "listening tour."