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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 2, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

With a donation of $2,525,000, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is one of the top contributors to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny and breezy with a high near 52 degrees and wind gusts as high as 40 mph. Tonight’s low will be around 36 degrees. Tomorrow, we’ll get a significant warmup: sunny with a high near 63, but still a bit windy.

Top story

The inside story on the top Illinois political donors: the who’s who of Biden’s fundraisers

The presidential election likely won’t be settled tomorrow, but the results of the campaign cash money race are in — with Illinois mega-donors making the ranks of the top 100 federal givers.

Though Illinois is not in play in the presidential contest, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has emerged as one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin — a crucial battleground state that could help tip the White House to Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

And the Biden campaign released the name of top fundraisers on Saturday night — folks who collected at least $100,000 to boost Biden’s bid. The list includes some three dozen Chicago area Democratic activists and elected officials.

Illinois mega-donors

Quite a few Illinoisans cracked the list of top 100 political donors by the Center for Responsive politics. Here are the five biggest Illinois donors, and where they land on that list:

  • #4: Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein of Lake Forest, the chiefs of Uline Industries. They gave $65.5 million, all to Republican candidates and causes.
  • #6: Kenneth Griffin, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Citadel, $46.3 million, all to GOP interests.
  • #14: Fred Eychaner, a media executive and long one of the Democrats’ biggest donors, $19 million, all to Democratic candidates or causes.
  • #42: Craig Duchossois, the executive chair of The Duchossois Group, Inc. and wife Janet, $6.1 million, most to Republicans with $212,800 to Democrats.
  • #59: Gov. Pritzker and wife M.K., $4.6 million to bolster Democrats.

A closer look at Pritzker’s political plays

On the federal side, Pritzker gave $2,256,300 to the Senate Majority PAC, $256,300 to Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, $1 million to the House Majority PAC and $259,100 total to the Cheri Bustos Victory Fund. Bustos is the chair of the Democratic House political operation.

Pritzker also gave $1.5 million to Priorities USA Action, a main pro-Biden super PAC, and $721,300 to the Biden Victory Fund, which was dispersed to a variety of swing state Democratic parties.

On the state party front, Pritzker gave $250,000 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee and $2,525,000 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Federal Account.

Biden bundlers revealed

The Biden campaign released the names of people who delivered — some with spouses — at least $100,000 for the campaign and affiliated joint fundraising committees.

Some 36 are from Illinois or with Chicago ties, even if they used another address for donation purposes. They include Penny Pritzker, former Obama Commerce Secretary; Valerie Alexander, who comes out of the Bill and Hillary Clinton political orbit; and Marcia Balonick listed on behalf of JACPAC, where she is the executive director of the Highland Park-based Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs.

Read Lynn Sweet’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Four people were killed and 25 others were injured in shootings across Chicago over Halloween weekend. In one attack, three women were shot after a man opened fire inside a home during a fight.
  2. Shootings and murders have risen over 50% in 2020 compared with the same period last year, while other crime has decreased as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the city. Meanwhile, 67 Chicago police officers have been shot at — 10 of them struck by bullets — so far this year.
  3. More than 738,000 Chicagoans have already cast ballots in person or by mail, shattering previous records for early voting. As of last night, 336,450 city residents have cast ballots in person since Oct. 1 and another 401,605 have voted by mail.
  4. Longtime Cook County Judge Diane Gordon Cannon, who developed a reputation for being pro-prosecution during nearly 25 years on the bench, died Saturday, a spokesperson for Chief Judge Timothy Evans confirmed today. She was 65.

A bright one

Spurred by election enthusiasm, students push peers to vote — even if they can’t vote themselves

Ashley Santiago is excited about the general election, and she’s working hard to educate her peers about voter registration and getting them enthusiastic about casting their ballot. Tomorrow, she also plans to serve as an election judge.

But there’s one election activity she isn’t taking part in — voting.

Santiago is 16. And while she can’t cast a ballot herself, the junior at Foreman College and Career Academy on the Northwest Side isn’t passing up the chance to make her voice heard in a different way.

Santiago and her friends made slideshow presentations explaining voting rules and procedures, which they sent to teachers to show to their students. They made flyers in both English and Spanish and emailed them to families, and have used social media to reach their peers.

Ashley Santiago, 16, stands outside Foreman College and Career Academy, where she is pushing her peers to vote.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“It means a lot to me because even though I can’t vote, it feels so good to see other people get encouraged to go out and vote,” Santiago said. “I believe that students have the power to influence elections. We have to do this for our democracy and to get our voices heard.”

Margie Smagacz, a social studies and civics teacher at Foreman, said she’s never seen this level of student enthusiasm for an election in her 25-year career. About 20 Foreman kids are serving as election judges. And those who vote or serve as judges get free school gear.

“We talk about each candidate’s platform,” Smagacz said. “The DREAM Act, DACA, is extremely important to our community because we do have a large Hispanic community. We have a community of people who are undocumented … That’s why educating families in both English and in Spanish and understanding what each candidate believes is extremely important to them.”

Similar voting efforts have been underway at the college level, too. Keep reading Nader Issa’s story to learn more.

From the press box

Communication issues between Bears coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Nick Foles came up again last night after their loss to the Saints. The problem now? Nagy’s frustration with Foles’ reliance on a wristband cheat sheet to help him call plays.

And the NFL suspended receiver Javon Wims for two games without pay after he punched Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the head during the game. Wims has three days to appeal his punishment.

Your daily question ☕

What do you think will happen with tomorrow’s election?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Friday, we asked you: How do you plan on celebrating Halloween this year? Here were some of the creative solutions Chicagoans cooked up for trick-or-treating during the pandemic…

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