Money flowing in race for mayor

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Preckwinkle gets $1M, gains ground on Daley who leads the pack with $2.7 million

Crusader Staff Report

The holiday season is bringing lots of green to the mayoral race. With the Chicago elections nearly two months away, candidates are racking up big political contributions.

So far, the candidates with the highest campaign contributions are Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former White House Chief of Staff William “Bill” Daley.

On December 7, Preckwinkle received $1 million from the powerful labor union SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Illinois Council. It was Preckwinkle’s largest campaign contribution to date, bringing her total amount in contributions to $1,696,717.

For months, Preckwinkle was fourth on the list of candidates with the highest amount of contributions, but she is now second, behind Daley. He leads with $2,745,815 in total donations according to the latest filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Attorney and candidate Gery Chico has the third highest in political contributions with $1,393,627.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza—one of Preckwinkle’s biggest opponents—is eighth on the list with $670,100.

But the surprise candidate is perhaps Daley, a former White House Chief of Staff who served under President Barack Obama’s first term in office. Many of Daley’s contributions come from big private don- ors who are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into his campaign for Chicago mayor.

Eight donors have contributed at least $100,000 since September. Daley contributed $500,000 to his own campaign in September.

Daley was reportedly in Boston and Washington this week to tap into an extensive national political network of donors that he harvested from years of working for former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and former President Obama.

On December 14, Daley was scheduled to attend an exclusive fundraising dinner in Washington hosted by Susan Brophy, who served in Clinton’s White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs. Tickets for that event range from $1,000 to $10,000 a plate.

Historically, Blacks in Chicago have supported the Daley political dynasty in mayoral elections. Bill Daley aims to capitalize on that relationship by heavily courting the Black vote. He recently hosted a special holiday dinner at the historic Pearl’s Place in Bronzeville for women veterans and their families.

There are 21 candidates in the mayoral race; only 13 of them have raised a collective total of nearly $11 million for their campaigns.

Eight of the mayoral candidates are Black. Among the candidates of color, Preckwinkle remains the biggest fundraiser.

Former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot remains in fourth place with $996,911.23. Businessman Willie Wil- son, who put 97 percent of his own money into his $849,528.16 campaign war chest, is sixth on the list.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown ($203,938.04), activist Amara Enyia (202,557.87), businessman Neal Sales-Griffin ($130,701.76), activist Ja’Mal Green ($43,720.66) and State Representative LaShawn Ford ($24,796.15) round out the bottom part of the list.

State records show that on October 31, rapper Kanye West gave a $200,000 contribution to the Enyia campaign. West remains her biggest donor.

The mayoral and aldermanic elections will be held on February 26, 2019. All aldermen representing Chicago’s 50 wards are up for re-election.

Preckwinkle contributed $50,000 to her own campaign on September 29. But state records also show that many of Preckwinkle’s political contributions come from private donors, four of whom gave $25,000 each in September and October this year. And since September, nine donors each gave $10,000 to Preckwinkle’s campaign.

SEIU is now Preckwinkle’s biggest donor. The union represents 80,000 working employees, including janitors and security. State records show that SEIU gave $1.1 million in cash and in-kind contributions to Preckwinkle in the last several years, but most of it was given in 2010 to help her defeat former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

In regards to the latest $1 million donation to Preckwinkle, SEIU com-munications director Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich said in a statement, “The janitors, home care providers, public employees and thousands of working families united in the SEIU Illinois State Council are committed to do whatever it takes to elect the first African-American woman mayor of Chicago, the true progressive in the race, and that starts with making sure Toni Preckwinkle has the adequate resources to complete the win.”

In a statement, Preckwinkle said, “I am thankful for the thousands of hard-working, security officers, home care providers, public employees united in the SEIU Illinois State Council, who have contributed to my campaign and shared commitment for an inclusive and compassionate Mayor’s office.”

Preckwinkle is not the only political candidate who has benefitted from the SEIU Illinois Council. In October, the group gave $221,600 to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and $25,000 to Kwame Raoul during his successful campaign to replace Lisa Madigan for Illinois Attorney General.

On the same day, SEIU gave Preckwinkle a $1 million contribution, the SEIU Illinois Council gave Alderman Sophia King (4th) $5,000 towards her re-election campaign. In the past, the organization has also contributed to the campaigns of Aldermen Pat Dowell (3rd) and Roderick Sawyer (6th).

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