Lightfoot antes up; Rahm raises her

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Lori Lightfoot. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

Former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot flexed some financial muscle Friday behind her campaign for mayor, but Rahm Emanuel just kicked more sand in his opponents’ faces.

A little more than a week after announcing her mayoral bid, Lightfoot filed disclosure reports showing she already had raised $243,000 for the campaign, easily outdistancing Emanuel’s other announced challengers.

Not to be outdone, the mayor deposited another $376,100 into his campaign fund Friday, bringing his total fundraising in May alone to $829,400.

Altogether, Emanuel has now raised nearly $5.6 million toward his re-election, a daunting number that belies the large number of candidates lining up to take on the incumbent.

Still, it was a fast start for Lightfoot, who raised most of her money from friends in the legal community, including a large chunk from her law partners at Mayer Brown LLP.

Lightfoot’s largest single donor was Mary Dempsey, president of DePaul College Prep, who chipped in with $50,000.

Dempsey and Lightfoot were brought into City Hall by Mayor Richard M. Daley to clean up the city’s procurement efforts after the Hired Truck scandal. Daley later made Dempsey commissioner of the Chicago Public Library, but she resigned in the face of deep budget cuts by Emanuel.

Lightfoot’s campaign said she has raised $276,694 total, counting donations too small to require immediate reporting.

Emanuel continues to benefit from donors who can write big checks, disclosing a $150,000 contribution from his longtime benefactor Sam Zell, the billionaire real estate developer who took the Tribune Co. into bankruptcy; and $100,000 from Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Earlier this month, he reported receiving $150,000 from restaurant magnate Rich Melman and $125,000 from Anne Edwards, wife of private equity executive Donald J. Edwards.

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas has reported only $8,000 in donations to date, while former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, the first to announce against Emanuel, has taken in about $209,000. He formally launched his campaign March 21.

Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown had just $7,000 in her campaign account at the end of March and has raised $9,000 since then.

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