Mayor Rahm Emanuel will launch his uphill battle for a third-term with more money in the bank than all of his challengers combined.
That’s the, not-at-all surprising, bottom line of quarterly fundraising reports filed Monday.
Emanuel closed the books on second-quarter fundraising with $7.56 million in his campaign warchest. He started the quarter with $2.2 million in the bank, raised nearly $6.1 million more and spent $708,671.
The figures were largely known, as the Chicago Sun-Times has kept steady and almost weekly track of the mayor’s frenzied fundraising ever since contribution limits for all mayoral candidates were lifted by millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s $100,000 donation to himself in April.
Mayoral challengers Paul Vallas, Lori Lightfoot and Garry McCarthy have been in a race against each other to plant their flags as Emanuel’s strongest rival by wracking up big second-quarter fundraising numbers.
Instead, none of the mayor’s three best-known challengers came out ahead. They’re pretty much dead even.
Fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s quarterly report had not been filed by late Monday. But the seven announced or potential challengers who had filed reported a combined $1.8 million. McCarthy’s staff reports that he had raised roughly $500,000.
That combined $2.3 million is less than a third of Emanuel’s total campaign balance.
Vallas raised $435,575 through June 30, spent just $1,367 and closed the books on the second quarter with $435,207 in the bank.
As the Sun-Times has previously highlighted, $200,000 of that money came from Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who has been complaining for months about Emanuel’s decision to raise the city’s amusement tax on large venues to bankroll a waiver for small theaters.
Wirtz delivered the surprise political message to Emanuel in donations from five companies he owned.
Those contributions included: $50,000 apiece from: Distillers Distributing Co.; Sauk Development and WSports Media LLC and $25,000 apiece from 35L Sportsmans LLC and Fair Chance Farm, Inc.
In a series of text messages to the Sun-Times, Vallas refused to say whether or not he plans to revisit Emanuel’s amusement tax restructuring if elected mayor.
He would say only that the amusement tax issue had nothing at all to do with Wirtz’s decision to become Vallas’ biggest campaign contributor.
“I’ve never had a discussion with Rocky or anyone else about lowering or changing the amusement tax,” Vallas wrote.
Lightfoot’s quarterly report shows she raised $504,116, spent $45,212 and had $458,903 left on June 30.
The former Police Board president has said she feels “very comfortable” about having enough money to get her message out.
Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown raised $36,303 through June 30, spent $37,825 and closed the books on the second quarter with just $2,571 in the bank.
Wilson’s quarterly report shows he raised $296,576 during the three-month period ending on June 30. That includes $231,906 in loans to himself and $61,840 in contributions, including $50,000 from himself. Wilson spent $242,081 during the second quarter and now has $54,494 in cash on hand.
Community activist Ja’Mal Green reported raising $5,750 during the quarter, leaving him with $6,750 in the bank. His earlier filings showed that Green contributed $3,000 to himself and received a $4,000 contribution from Progressive Action PAC.
It was pretty much the same story for Chicago Principals and Administrators Association President Troy LaRaviere. He raised $14,162 during the period and had just $3,212.76 left on June 30.
Tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin entered the quarter with just $1,291 on hand and raised $18,350.
County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who is poised to enter the race in days, started the quarter in the best position of all mayoral challengers with $804,142 in her warchest.
She raised $85,350, spent $46,226 and closed the books on June 30 with $843,265 in the bank.
Emanuel survived Chicago’s first mayoral runoff after spending a record $24 million, four times more than County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a relative political unknown.
To win a third term — and overcome the political fall-out from his handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting video, an avalanche of tax increases and violent crime — the mayor probably needs to set a new fundraising record.
He’s steadily getting there, thanks to a legendary Rolodex of heavy-hitters that’s the envy of Democrats across the nation.
“Emanuel’s reelection money comes largely from developers, corporations, and lobbyists, most of whom do not send their kids to Chicago Public Schools, use Chicago public transportation or rely on vital city services, like safe drinking water,” Robert Peters, political director for Reclaim Chicago, was quoted as saying in a statement.
“These are the same class of people and special interests who brought us red light cameras, parking meter privatization, Ventra, the displacement of poor and working class people from our neighborhoods, and the closure of six mental health clinics and 50 Chicago Public Schools.”
Reclaim Chicago urged Emanuel to support its “Fair Elections Ordinance,” that would limit the amount of “big money” candidates could accept and “match small, local donations” by a six-to-one margin.
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- Rahm’s latest fundraising splurge keeps Lori Lightfoot in distant second place
- Lightfoot antes up; Rahm raises her
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