July 26, 2017



There is an ancient proverb that says, "Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed."

As applied to contemporary politics, it would be "Clueless are those without reams of money, for they shall not be elected."

GOVERNOR: The spending in Illinois' 2018 governor's race and Chicago's 2019 mayoral race will be of historic proportions. The media has reported that Democrat J.B. Pritzker is spending $100,000-per day of his estimated $7 billion in wealth on television ads, social media and mailings to be elected governor. With the contest 15 months away, that's 450 days, or $45 million. Add other incidentals, such as staff, campaign workers, pollsters, media designers and an upgrade in visibility as November 2018 nears, and he is on track to spend upwards of $200 million.

According to June 30 disclosures, Pritizker's business, the Pritzker Group, has donated $14,000,000, and Pritzker is on television with ads introducing himself as a "national leader" in such areas as early childhood education, and calling for "responsibility" from the governor. Prtizker is the Democrats' "dream candidate," since he can self-fund and money can be spent elsewhere.

As detailed in the chart, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner had $67,633,577 on hand, mainly through a $50 million personal donation in December. He is on television, having satisfied his base by vetoing the tax hike. A recent internal poll by Chris Kennedy, who had $703,767 on hand, showed him leading 44 to 39 percent - largely because of the Kennedy name. He has no media, with the primary 8-months away. Of the 1,008 donors in his filing, half were out-of-state, part of the family network. Kennedy will have to go negative on Pritzker. State Senator Daniel Biss had an impressive $2,340,170 on hand, and hopes voters sour on the top two.

MAYOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel spent $25 million to get re-elected in 2015, and is not yet on-track to replicate that feat. He had $1,577,209 on hand, having raised $963,741 since Jan. 1. He needs to raise $1 million per quarter through mid-2018, and then step up his game for the February 2019 election. Given his Clinton, Obama, Hollywood and financial industry contacts, he has the capability to raise a lot of money. If the 2019 environment is anti-incumbent, he will need it.

Thus far, "Chuy" Garcia's fund-raising - $28,541 on hand - is anemic. As long as county board president Toni Preckwinkle sticks with the mayor, neither Alderman Roderick Sawyer nor city treasurer Kurt Summers will run. A sleeper could be county Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who has ties to the 19th Ward, and had a hefty $674,722 on hand, and is itching to move up. As of now, Emanuel's money is intimidating.

COOK COUNTY: Joe Berrios is the county assessor, county Democratic chairman, and has $1,638,683 on hand - and is a close ally of Preckwinkle. But he's also the Democrat most likely to lose the 2018 primary. In addition to his charges of nepotism, he is accused of poor outreach to minority homeowners, who don't file appeals, while allowing white homeowners and corporations, who do file appeals, to get assessment reductions. With property taxes doubling in some areas, Preckwinkle is Berrios' cover in the black community, and has $441,432 on hand.

Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, with $374,675 on hand, is planning to challenge Berrios. If Preckwinkle perceives Berrios to be a liability to her, she will cut him loose, Also, county Commissioner Larry Suffredin has $1,483 on hand and has raised no money, a likely tip-off that he is retiring and will pass along the post to son Tom.

One surprise was Sheriff Tom Dart's sluggish fund-raising - just $1,640. He seems disinclined to run for any other office, like mayor.

STATEWIDE: Democratic incumbents Lisa Madigan, Jesse White, Mike Frerichs and Susana Mendoza have, respectively, $2,301,199, $452,505, $273,282 and $603,486 on hand. All will win easy re-election.

STATE LEGISLATURE: Speaker Mike Madigan controls three funds: Friends of Madigan, Illinois Democratic Party and the Democratic Majority Fund, which had $6,630,091 on hand and raised $859,563. He's a Pritzker booster, since Rauner will now have to use his money for himself, not for Republican legislative candidates, as he did in 2016. Among the locals, Lou Lang - who someday wants Madigan's job - had $1,075,594, John Mulroe $455,422, John D'Amico $309,667 and Robert Martwick $86,612. Republicans have recruited Amanda Biela to challenge D'Amico and Ammie Kessem to challenge Martwick. Republican Mike McAuliffe, whom Rauner boosted with $2 million in 2016, had $16,038. Madigan may target him again.

CHICAGO ALDERMEN: The Mighty Ed Burke had $8,892,567 on hand. That tends to discourage opposition in his 14th Ward. Next best was the Gold Coast's Brenden Reilly, with $997,017. Retirement rumors surround Pat O'Connor (40th) and Margaret Laurino (39th), who had, respectively, $159,380 and $97,481. 39th Ward Democratic committeeman Robert Murphy, who lost in 2015, had $7,592, and 2015 O'Connor foe Dianne Daleiden $2,062 - hardly intimidating numbers for a 2019 aldermanic bid.

In the 33rd Ward, Deb Mell had $86,807 on hand, 2015 winner Gilbert Villegas (36th) had $108,177, and his committeeman ally, Luis Arroyo Sr., $147,747. In the 38th Ward, Nicholas Sposato had $47,265, and in the 50th Ward, Debra Silverstein had $70,441, but raised only $500.

In the far Northwest Side 41st Ward, Anthony Napolitano, had $15,647, and his likely 2019 opponent, Democratic committeeman Tim Henneghan, $6,051. A bundle of union and Emanuel money will be needed to beat Napolitano.

In the 45th Ward, John Arena's fund-raising was modest, posting $36,490. But his formidable 2019 foe, 2011 and 2015 loser John Garrido, a major opponent of the 5150 Northwest Highway project, posted zero on hand and zero raised. He's not running. And Arena will get his $500,000-plus from the public sector unions. He's unbeatable.