June 6, 2018


It is quite favorable for Mayor Rahm Emanuel that J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic candidate for governor. Since Pritzker will self-fund to the tune of at least $150 million, since Speaker Mike Madigan already has $7,848,584 to spend to elect Democratic legislative candidates, and since there are no hotly contested state or Cook County races in the Nov. 6 election, the Democratic donor base will be refreshed by 2019.

Emanuel's fund-raising has been sluggish, although he raised $890,000 in late May, and his $2,208,847 cash on hand as of March 31 is now close to $6 million. He needs $30 million to win a third term.

Garry McCarthy, the former city police superintendent, raised $148,225 since his announcement, and Paul Vallas and Lori Lightfoot did not need to file first quarter disclosures, since they announced after Jan. 1. Lightfoot, according to reports, has raised $248,000, and Vallas $64,000 to date.

Attached is a fund-raising chart for the period July 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018, covering the 2018 primary, with cash on hand extending through the election and into the 2019 Chicago municipal election. Here are a few takeaways.

GOVERNOR: Billionaire Pritzker raised $62,328,668 during that period, of which he donated $62,300,000. Pritzker announced his candidacy on March 14, 2017, exactly 372 days before this year's March 20 primary. That comes out to campaign overhead of about $167,473 per day. Pritzker will step-up his game for the contest with Governor Bruce Rauner spending probably $350,000 per day for TV and media ads, social media, polling, staff, precinct workers, and plenty of "donations" to Democratic ward and township organizations, Downstate county organizations, and legislative candidates.

Rauner, elected in 2014 on a promise to "Shake Up Springfield," has partially fulfilled that pledge by thwarting the tax-raising and spending designs of Madigan and the Democratic majority. Like Pritzker, he is a venture capitalist and put $50 million of his own money into his campaign, and will spend $75 million. But he is tiresome, and has a real theme for 2018. Pritzker will hammer him as a "failed" governor, and is favored.

In the Democratic governor primary, Chris Kennedy raised $5,271,805 and received 24.4 percent and Dan Biss raised $4,758,430 and received 26.7 percent. But they could not compete with Pritzker, whose $62.3 million got him 45.1 percent.

ASSESSOR: Negativity about Joe Berrios including nepotism and unfair assessments, doomed his campaign. As of July 1, 2017, he had $1,638,683 on-hand, raised $283,605, and has $63,573 on-hand, meaning he spent about $1.9 million to lose. Fritz Kaegi, an asset fund manager received 45.5 percent, and raised $2,010,911. In the end, money could not rescue Berrios, and Kaegi's broad fund-raising base and "progressive" contacts got him a solid victory.
COUNTY BOARD PRESIDENT: Toni Preckwinkle, elected in 2010, has not had a smooth tenure, alienating voters with her 1 percent sales tax reimposition and the 1-cent-per-ounce soda tax, which was repealed. But she had solid black and union support, raised $924,624, had independent expenditures by the unions, and buried Bob Fioretti with 60.7 percent. Fioretti raised $255,780.

8th DISTRICT: Mired in controversy over alleged sexual harassment, and found by the legislative Inspector General to have engaged in "unbecoming conduct," no amount of money could have saved state Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8). He raised $234,379, but his base collapsed. His principal foe, Ram Villivalam, with heavy public sector union support from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU Healthcare, for whom he was a lobbyist, raised $415,013, and had another $250,000 in independent union expenditures. Villivalam won with 51.3 percent.

SHERIFF: Republicans are attempting to put a candidate on the ballot against incumbent Democrat Tom Dart, who has had issues with Preckwinkle regarding County Jail funding and inmate bail. Dart raised $94,415, but had $494,407 cash on hand. He is safe.

16th DISTRICT: Longtime Skokie state Representative Lou Lang (D-16) has spent almost three decades climbing the House Democratic leadership ladder, on which Madigan occupies the top perch. He has $1,467,525 in his campaign account, and was in the mix to be speaker - along with Barbara Flynn Currie and Art Turner - when Madigan retires. However, an unpleasant situation arose recently when he purportedly blocked pay-to-play marijuana licenses. A female lobbyist for what Lang called "marijuana profiteers" accused Lang of "harassment" and "terrible acts," prompting Lang to quit as deputy majority leader. He's off the speaker track.

15th AND 19th DISTRICTS: Against Northwest Side state representatives John D'Amico (D-15) and Rob Martwick (D-19), any Republican challenge would be Quixotic at best. As of March 31, Martwick had $453,099 on hand, and D'Amico 340,869 on hand. Their opponents - Ammie Kessem, a Chicago police officer, against Martwick, and Amanda Biela, running against D'Amico - had, respectively, $7,645 and $3,748. Unless Rauner comes in with a big deluge, the Republicans will lose big.

39th WARD: Rumors have abounded for some time that Alderman Marge Laurino will retire in 2019, as she is president pro tempore of the Chicago City Council and a loyal Emanuel supporter. That is not good positioning for re-election. But she raised $105,659 and had $123,443 on-hand, which belies current rumors. Candidates in the contest include Robert Murphy, who ran in 2015 and became Democratic ward committeeman in 2016; he had $22,044 on-hand. Also running are Casey Smagala, who works for the Albany Park Community Center, who had $1,602 on hand, and Samantha Nugent, a medical industry executive, who recently announced and has raised $19,000 in the past 2 months. A runoff is certain.

41st WARD: Anthony Napolitano has been a critic of Emanuel, opposing his budgets and fee and tax hikes. He has not, however, been a prodigious fund-raiser, with $23,378 on hand. But, luckily for Napolitano, neither has his pro-Emanuel 2019 opponent, Tim Heneghan, who had $7,683 on hand. Unless Emanuel dumps a lot of money into the ward, a dubious proposition, Napolitano will win.