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Rahm sends message to mayoral rivals — adding another $850,000-plus to war chest

Mayor Rahm Emanuel attends a ceremony to mark the opening of five new gates at O'Hare International Airport on May 11, 2018 in Chicago. (File Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s challengers have been dialing for dollars in hopes of making a fundraising splash when quarterly reports are due on June 30. But, they have a long way to go to catch up to the incumbent.

Emanuel reported another $853,100 in contributions late Friday, leaving his campaign fund with roughly $7.4 million.

This week’s donor drop includes some old favorites.

The mayor raked in $705,000 from three executives from Madison Dearborn Partners. The private equity firm has been among the mayor’s most reliable campaign contributors for years.

The three executives are: CEO John Canning Jr. ($200,000); Co-CEO Sam Mencoff ($305,000) and Paul Finnegan ($200,000). Mencoff is an Emanuel appointee to the board of World Business Chicago.

John and Rita Canning of Inverness | Photo courtesy of Malia Rae Photography
John and Rita Canning of Inverness | Photo courtesy of Malia Rae Photography

Other heavy-hitters include Shahid Khan, the billionaire owner of Flex-N-Gate and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars ($100,000) and Tishman Speyer Development ($25,000).

An auto parts manufacturer, Flex-N-Gate received $1.5 million in city and county training grants to open a manufacturing facility on Chicago’s South Side that included the hiring of roughly 300 workers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner join Shahid Khan (center), owner of auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, as the company is opening a new factory at 2924 E. 126th St., last year. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner join Shahid Khan (center), owner of auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, as the company is opening a new factory at 2924 E. 126th St., last year. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Khan previously gave the mayor $210,700 while his wife contributed another $10,700 to Emanuel. Flex-N-Gate chose to locate its plant in Chicago after considering a move to Indiana.

Emanuel still has a way to go to match the $24.4 million he raised and spent to survive Chicago’s first mayoral run-off against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in 2015. But he’s getting there week-by-week.

Mayoral challenger Lori Lightfoot made a splash last month — and planted her flag as a lead competitor — by raising $243,000 for her campaign right out of the gate.

Lori Lightfoot and her domestic partner Amy Eshleman own two vehicles — a 2014 Toyota Highlander and a 2006 Mini Cooper — and have paid up for 32 tickets. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
Lori Lightfoot. File Photo. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

But, that looks like a drop in the bucket, compared to Emanuel.

With fundraising limits for all mayoral candidates lifted by millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s $100,000 contribution to himself, Emanuel has been free and clear to tap his deep reservoir of high rollers.

Emanuel’s fundraising Rolodex has long been the envy of Democrats nationwide.

The mayor has yet to formally declare his candidacy for a third term.

But, Friday’s fundraising drop was yet another sign of Emanuel’s determination to prove to his field of nine challengers — with County Commissioner Bridget Gainer considering becoming the tenth — that nobody will have more money than the embattled incumbent.