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Daley pads lead in mayoral fundraising; Lightfoot, McCarthy vie for second place

Other big-name candidates joined the race sooner, but Bill Daley, who announced he was running for mayor of Chicago just a month ago, is leading in fundraising. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

The amount of money it will take to become the next mayor of Chicago was substantially reduced when fundraiser extraordinaire Rahm Emanuel exited the race.

But, whatever it will take to stand out from the crowd without the current mayor in the contest, Bill Daley is currently fundraising frontrunner.

The son and brother of Chicago mayors has piled up $1.32 million since belatedly joining the race less than a month ago after Emanuel dropped out.

Quarterly fundraising reports that were due Monday do not tell the entire story.

Daley raised $650,000 of his pack-leading total before the Sept. 30 deadline, including his personal contribution of in an apparent attempt to prove that his track record of flirting with various offices, then dropping out, will not be repeated in the mayoral race.

But he has more than doubled that total already this month, with help from a handful of Emanuel’s most reliable campaign contributors.

His latest heavy-hitting donors include: $200,000 from John Canning, chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners; $50,000 from Aon Group executive Michael O’Halloren; and $5,000 apiece from Jack Sandner, retired chairman of CME Group, and Mike Koldyke, former chairman of the Illinois School Finance Authority.

Second place in the fundraising sweepstakes belongs to former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, who has raised $816,003 in contributions, with $313,072 coming in the third quarter.

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has raised $800,655 to date — including $360,609 in the last quarter — with “commitments” that will soon take him “well past” $1 million, the reports state.

Mayoral candidate Gery Chico has claimed $519,500 in contributions from 87 donors, including $286,000 in October so far after the most-recent deadline. He wrote a $25,000 check to himself.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, another late entry into the race, netted $247,500 to her mayoral campaign committee last quarter, bringing her total to $343,700. Her campaign has received $96,200 in contributions this month.

SEIU Local 1 has contributed $100,000 to Preckwinkle’s mayoral campaign committee. She padded her totals with a $50,000 transfer from her Preckwinkle for President committee. She doesn’t need the money in that race, since she is running unopposed.

She also reported $25,000 contributions from: Lester Crown; John Simpson of Broadhaven Capital, an Emanuel appointee to the Chicago Police Board; Joan Hall, a retired partner of the clout-heavy law firm of Jenner & Block; and from developer Peter Holsten.

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas raised $249,127 during the third-quarter. The vast majority of it — $200,000 — came from just two donors: his brother, Dean, and Koch Foods CEO Joseph Grendys. In October, Vallas has raised just $27,200.

Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s $100,000 contribution to himself lifted the caps on the mayor’s race before Emanuel dropped out.

In his quarterly report, Wilson reported raising $373,952, spending $293,947 and having $134,499 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Of that, $370,000 came in the form of loans from himself.

Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown reported raising just $5,500 during the quarter and $4,500 since. Her office is the subject of an ongoing federal corruption investigation into alleged job selling and other irregularities.

Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Daley had become the first mayoral candidate to top the $1 million mark after $100,000 in contributions from members of the Crown family and a $50,000 contribution from Chicago venture capital pioneer Brian Cressey.

The Crown family has been a business, finance and philanthropic pillar of Chicago for decades.

This time, Lester Crown appears to be hedging his bets by also donating to Preckwinkle.

In 2015, Emanuel managed to survive Chicago’s first-ever mayoral run-off by raising a record $24 million. He had already topped the $10 million mark toward an expected $30 million goal before pulling the plug on his own re-election bid.

Without the man whose fundraising Rolodex is the stuff of legends among national Democrats, political advisers for all of the mayoral candidates expect the amount of money it will take to win the race to be well under $10 million and maybe even half that amount.

Since he announced that he would not be seeking re-election on Sept. 4, Emanuel has returned $48,938 in contributions to The Chicago Committee, headed by Chicago real estate developer Paul Levy.

Records show that Emanuel returned $4,000 in contributions to the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 on Aug. 16 — nearly three weeks before he announced he would not seek re-election.