Daley, Chico make early splash in mayoral fundraising sweepstakes
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Mayoral candidates have been dialing for dollars in a frenzied effort to lure Rahm Emanuel’s deep-pockets donors and stand out from the pack when third-quarter fundraising reports are due next week.
But Bill Daley and Gery Chico are getting a running start.
In campaign disclosure filings late Thursday, Chico reported $519,500 in contributions from 87 donors.
Daley reported $885,100 in contributions, $700,000 of it from just two donors, including himself. Daley wrote a $500,000 check to himself in an apparent attempt to prove that his track record of flirting with various offices but then dropping out will not be repeated.
The brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and the son of former Mayor Richard J. Daley also reported a $200,000 contribution this week from Paul Finnegan, co-CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners, and $25,000 from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Another contribution to Daley — for $5,600 — came from attorney Roger Kiley, who was one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s many chiefs of staff. Kiley and William Daley were former partners at the clout-heavy law firm Mayer Brown.
Madison Dearborn had been among Emanuel’s most reliable campaign contributors for years. Three executives, including Finnegan, dumped $705,000 into Emanuel’s campaign in June, three months before Emanuel chose political retirement over the uphill battle for a third term.
Paulson has contributed more than $70,000 to Emanuel over the last five years. He gave $5,300 to Bill Daley for Illinois in 2013 before Daley pulled the plug on his plan to challenge then-Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.
Chico served as former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s go-to guy, with stints as chief of staff and president of the Chicago Board of Education, and the Chicago Park District and City Colleges boards.
He wrote a $25,000 check to himself. His largest donors include Ivan Dvorak, chairman of EXP Global; Sasha Gerritson, opera director of Northeastern Illinois University; and Michigan Chestnut Realty, all of whom gave Chico $25,000.
Other major contributors to Chico include Barbara Speer ($15,000); Ron and Gloria Rossi of Rossi Contractors ($10,000); Gold Coast Tickets ($10,000); former Chicago Board of Education President Norm Bobins, chairman of The Private Bank ($10,000); and attorney Allan Muchin, a partner at the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman, which includes former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
In 2011, Chico raised $4.5 million in five months for a mayoral campaign that nearly forced Emanuel into a runoff. This time, he’s off to a roaring start with “15 to 20” more fundraisers planned for later this month and next, according to his campaign.
Daley, Chico and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle all joined the race only after Emanuel dropped out.
Preckwinkle’s campaign filings disclosed $278,700 in donations Friday afternoon, including $100,000 from SEIU Local 1 and a $50,000 transfer from the still flush-with-cash Preckwinkle for President Committee, which bankrolled her 2018 run to lead the Cook County Board. The second-quarter report filed by the Preckwinkle for President Committee showed $196,472 in cash on hand.
Preckwinkle also reported $25,000 contributions each from retired lawyer Joan Hall and investment banker John Simpson. Simpson had been a generous supporter of Emanuel in previous mayoral elections. Hall gave $5,000 to former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot in May.
Wendy Paulson, a conservationist and the wife of Henry Paulson; philanthropist King Harris; and architecture and design firm Antunovich Associates all backed Preckwinkle to the tune of $10,000 after previously giving money to Emanuel’s re-election efforts.
Not to be outdone are at least two of the candidates who entered the race before Emanuel dropped out.
Lightfoot said Friday her third-quarter report will show she’s raised another $313,073, much of it from her fellow attorneys. That would bring her overall fundraising to $827,794 from 939 different donors, not counting in-kind contributions.
Garry McCarthy, the fired police superintendent turned mayoral candidate, raised $245,528 in the second quarter and has shifted into high gear since Emanuel dropped out.
“We’ve raised more money than anybody else, to my knowledge: $830,000 is what we’ve raised to date. And we’ve got commitments that are gonna take us well past $1 million in the next couple of weeks,” McCarthy said Friday.
“I can’t self fund because I don’t have the money. I’ve been a civil servant all of my life. Some of those folks who have donated $500,000 to themselves or got a $200,000 donation from somebody that makes up half of what they’ve brought in — it needs to be reported in the proper context.”
Apparently determined to show that his fundraising hadn’t stalled, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas reported $200,000 in contributions late Friday, $100,000 of it from his brother Dean Vallas. The other $100,000 came from Joseph Grendys of Park Ridge.
Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s $100,000 contribution to himself lifted the caps on the mayor’s race before Emanuel dropped out. Wilson has raised more than $660,000, nearly all of it from himself.
On Friday, Wilson said he is not at all intimidated by the money raised by latecomers Daley and Chico.
“Those guys are part of the old political machine that people are tired of,” Wilson said. “I don’t think money can buy ’em. Just like Rahm had all that money. It didn’t buy him no votes. He had to get out — like I predicted he would. It would have been embarrassing for him to stay in there,” Wilson said.
“People are tired of being taken advantage of with property taxes. When their property taxes went up, nobody stood up for ’em. But I did.”