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Republican Pat O’Brien outraising Democrat Kim Foxx in Cook County state’s attorney money battle

Campaign reports on file Thursday showed the Democratic incumbent had roughly $216,590.45 to spend, while O’Brien had at least $427,326.62. But with contribution limits blown by the Republican’s self-financing, donors are now free to give as much as they want to either candidate.

Republican nominee Pat O’Brien, left, in July; Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, right, in March.
Republican nominee Pat O’Brien, left, in July; Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, right, in March.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times-file; Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

With less than three weeks until the final votes can be cast, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is heading into the home stretch of her re-election bid with the potential to be outspent nearly two-to-one by Republican rival Pat O’Brien.

The Democratic incumbent reported having $202,290.45 left in her campaign coffers at the end of last month, and available filings show only $14,300 raised since then, giving her roughly $216,590.45 to spend.

O’Brien had $225,653.34 in the bank at the end of last month and has reported raising $201,673.28 since then, giving the former Cook County judge at least $427,326.62 to spend.

And the Republican notified the Illinois State Board of Elections Wednesday that the $70,000 he lent his campaign the day before brought the total he’d personally dumped into his campaign war chest to $101,075.91.

That effectively lifts the limits all candidates in the race can accept from donors or themselves.

O’Brien said even before now, he’s “been outraising Kim Foxx.”

“Cook County residents have seen firsthand how Kim Foxx has failed to protect our families, victims of crime, and neighborhoods,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I look forward to a spirited final stretch in this campaign. I once again implore Kim Foxx to be transparent and give Cook County residents the debates they have been asking for.”

The reports filed Thursday cover all campaign finance activity from July 1 through Sept. 30. On top of that, campaigns must report larger contributions they receive with 48 hours of their receipt.

Foxx reported raising $232,785.84 in the three-month period that ended two weeks ago. The $14,300 was raised since then.

That haul isn’t much more than the $217,410.18 the first-term prosecutor raised in the comparable period four years ago when she was considered the overwhelming frontrunner against Republican Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche.

This time around, O’Brien raised $401,851.20 over the period that ended Sept. 30. Since then, in addition to the $70,000 of his own money he lent his campaign, he has received $55,800 from Florida financial services executive Jim Bowen and $33,416.84 from the Illinois Republican Party, among other donations.

A spokeswoman for Foxx said the campaign is “prepared” for what a no-cap race could mean.

“In the primary we fought off over $11 million,” Alex Sims, a Foxx spokeswoman said. “Pat O’Brien breaking the caps at this stage is something we anticipated and we’re ready to communicate the stark difference between him and the state’s attorney.”

In her fight for a second term, Foxx also faces Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy.

The county’s top prosecutor has cast O’Brien as Cook County’s closest thing to President Donald Trump, saying he he has resorted to “Trump-like name calling and fear mongering.” Those tactics are the reasons she cites for not debating him.

O’Brien has gone after Foxx for her handling of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s case and a tenure he says has only led to “more crime and more fear.”

Breaking the limit that campaigns can accept is relatively easy under Illinois campaign finance laws. O’Brien did it by contributing at least $100,000 of his own money.