Bud Billiken Parade gets boost in revenue during election year

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Crusader staff report

The 89th edition of the Bud Billiken last August drew big bucks for political candidates seeking to boost their chances of winning local and state offices.

According to a survey of political campaign donations from the Illinois State Board of Elections, this year’s Bud Billiken parade raked in $58,950 from 17 candidates, some of whom took out multiple units to draw more attention to nearly $1 million spectators at the event.

The biggest spender was billionaire and Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker, who spent $32,050 for about three units, including a bus for him and running mate Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton. Pritzker paid another $30,000 to be in the 2017 Bud Billiken Parade, which generated $50,500 from political candidates, state records show. That event was seven months before the Democratic Primary, where Pritzker trounced his opponents.

Mayoral candidate and Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson was a distant second by spending $3,750. Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, outgoing Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza tied for third with $3,500 donations.

The Bud Billiken is the oldest and largest African American parade in the country that was created in 1929 by Chicago Defender founder Robert S. Abbot, who wanted to thank the youth who helped sell copies of the iconic newspaper on the street.

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