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Incumbent Aldermen Haul In Big Bucks As Opponents Gear Up To Challenge Them

Candidates in contested aldermanic races have roughly $5.2 million to spend on upcoming races.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) at City Hall.
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CITY HALL – As summer days wane and new campaign launches proliferate, candidates in contested aldermanic races have roughly $5.2 million to spend on upcoming races, with millions more expected to pour in before Election Day in February.

Incumbent aldermen are hauling in big bucks — although the open race in the 47th Ward promises to be among the most expensive contests, based on reports filed through Wednesday with the State Board of Elections.  

Spreadsheet: Aldermanic campaign fundraising

Ald. Danny Solis (25) had a banner quarter — logging $350,000 in receipts for his 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, records show. He faces two challengers vying for the seat he’s held since 1996.

Related: Pilsen Alliance Director, Educator Announces Aldermanic Run For 25th Ward Seat Held By Solis

Ald. Roberto Maldonado, facing three challengers in the 26th Ward, is taking a similar tack. His ward organization has raised $95,000 since the beginning of April, records show. Around this time in the last election cycle, Maldonado had $160,000 cash on hand.

Ald. Silvana Tabares (23) might be new to City Council, but she is no stranger to fundraising, ranking near the top of a list of aldermen with the biggest war chests, records show.

Tabares switched over her candidate committee, Friends for Tabares — formed for her bids for state representative — to reflect her new status as alderman. Tabares has more than $550,000 on hand. Her only challenger so far, Paul Villarreal, has approximately $1,000 in cash on hand, records show. The Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE transferred $50,000 to Tabares just before she was sworn in as alderman, records show.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1) boosted his campaign coffers with roughly $50,000 in receipts, bringing his cash on hand total to $500,000 between the three funds he controls, records show. Moreno faces one challenger so far, Daniel La Spata, who has just over $20,000 cash on hand, records show.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8) also maintained a comfortable advantage over her announced challengers, with $335,000 in cash on hand, records showAld. Deb Mell (33) has close to $185,000 on hand and 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney’s campaign account is just shy of $210,000.

The 10 candidates vying for the open 47th ward seat have a combined $400,000 in cash on hand, records show. Michael Negron, a former aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is leading the the way with $155,000, followed by social worker Eileen Dordekwho has racked up $130,000 in contributions. Attorney Matthew Martin has $80,000 on hand, while political observers are watching to see how much new candidate Heather Way Kitzes, a Cubs community liaison and former executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, reports in contributions.

The money rolling into the 47th Ward race may be overshadowed by its neighbor on its southern border, where 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith faces a tough and expensive race to keep her seat. The three challengers vying to represent Lincoln Park on the City Council control more than $550,000 cash on hand already, records show.

Former Emanuel aide Derek Lindblom has the most robust fundraising so far — he logged donations large and small, bringing his total cash on hand to $205,000, while spending less than $2,000 last quarter, according to reports filed with state officials. The bulk of the $110,000 in contributions reported by former mHUB development manager Jacob Ringer can be largely attributed to a $90,000 loan Ringer gave to his campaign. Smith, who has $245,000 on hand, raised about $55,000 last quarter, records show.  

  • Treasurer Kurt Summers has not yet filed as a candidate for 2019, nor has he logged any major contributions since May, records showDespite some rumorsthat Summers might challenge Emanuel for mayor in 2019, a spokesperson for his campaign has declined repeated requests for comment. Meanwhile, City Clerk Anna Valencia went on a fundraising tear, logging close to $100,000 at the end of June, records show. Valencia is so far unchallenged.  
  • Ald. Toni Foulkes (16) is beefing up the 16th Ward Democratic Club of Chicagoas a rematch against former Ald. Shirley Coleman’s daughter Stephanie Coleman looms. The club might have just under $10,000 to its name, but that’s because Foulkes spent much of what she raised already. Roughly $43,000 went to the costs of a mobile office Foulkes rolled out in June. Coleman has approximately $2,500 on hand so far, records show.
  • Willie Tines, who is taking on one-term Ald. David Moore in the 17th ward, loaned himself $49,000. Tines, a Chicago Park District employee and union steward, has run twice for office before. Tines says he got his political start in the 17th Ward in the mid-1980s and was an aide to jailed U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds. Moore has approximately $45,000 on hand between his candidate and campaign committees, records show.
  • Ald. Willie Cochran (20) is somewhat behind in his will-he-or-won’t-he campaign for re-election. Challengers Kevin Bailey and Nicole J. Johnson each have more cash on hand, but Johnson is fundraising much more aggressively, reports show.
  • Ald. Ariel Reboyras’ (30) fundraising has been relatively stagnant, despite his challenger, Jessica Washington Gutierrez, getting a $25,000 transfer from her father, outgoing U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Reboyras has $60,000 on hand, compared to Gutierrez’ $23,000, records show. His last fundraising high in the 2015 race was around $120,000 according to Illinois Sunshine, but he went unchallenged that year.
  • Hilario Dominguez, one of two challengers to file against Solis, got a leg up from the owners of famed Chicago-style pizzeria Lou Malnati’s — Marc and Jeanne Malnati donated $5,000 to Dominguez earlier this month. Byron Sigcho Lopez, the founder of Pilsen Alliance, also plans to run again against Solis, who escaped a runoff against Lopez by 80 votes in 2015.

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