Coke, Pepsi Battle for Illinois Soda Deal
Associated Press
February 27, 2007

There's a cola competition going on in Springfield.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola want to be the sole beverage supplier to more than 2,300 vending machines on state property, the Illinois State Fair and the University of Illinois.

Officials had hoped more companies would bid on the chance to be the state government's sole soda supplier, but Illinois Revenue Department spokesman Mike Klemens says they are satisfied with two bidders. The winner will be chosen based on how much money its offer will generate for the state, he said.

Both companies employ high-powered lobbyists with connections to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office.

One of Pepsi's lobbyists is William Filan, cousin of budget aide John Filan. Coca-Cola's representatives in Springfield include John Wyma, a top aide to Blagojevich during the governor's tenure in Congress.

The state is expected to choose the vendor this spring and launch the program by July 1.

Other sponsorship deals have produced an estimated $3.4 million for state government over the past three years.

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