Rahm racks up campaign cash, fund nears $5 million
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a way to go to match the record $24 million he raised to survive Chicago’s first mayoral run-off.
But, he’s getting there.
One week after dropping $1.6 million into his campaign fund, Emanuel deposited another $866,100.
That leaves him with nearly $4.7 million, running circles around a field of mayoral challengers that seems to be getting more crowded by the day.
With fundraising limits for all mayoral candidates lifted by millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s $100,000 contribution to himself, Emanuel was free to tap his deep reservoir of heavy-hitters.
The new filing includes three major trade unions: the Ironworkers Political Fund ($250,000); Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC ($100,000) and IBEW Local 134 ($50,000).
The carpenters are part of the investment group that purchased the Chicago Sun-Times.
Other large contributions to Emanuel’s fund came from: Jeffrey Hecktman, CEO of Hilco Global ($50,000); investment manager Muneer Satter ($55,600); Howard Gottlieb ($50,000) and Dick Wolf and his Wolf Entertainment, producers of the locally-produced television series “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” ($16,700).
The new donors also include: Bernard Schwartz, CEO of BLS Investments ($100,000); Eli Broad ($25,000) and Michael Polsky, CEO of Invenergy LLC ($25,000).
Wilson acknowledged when he busted the caps that Emanuel had the most to gain.
After all, the mayor has a legendary fundraising Rolodex filled with high rollers that’s the envy of Democrats across the nation.
But Wilson argued that this time around, the mountain of cash that will allow Emanuel to blanket the television airwaves with campaign commercials “ain’t gonna do him no good. … He’s done so wrong for the citizens of Chicago.”
By ratcheting up his fundraising, Emanuel may be hoping to intimidate his opponents. But so far, it doesn’t appear to be working.
Last week, battled Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown joined a crowded field that already includes: fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy; former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas; Chicago Principals and Administrators Association President Troy LaRaviere; tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin and community activist Ja’Mal Green.
Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot and County Commissioner Bridget Gainer are also considering entering the race.
If Gainer jumps in, she will have a leg up on the competition. She is a proven fundraiser with $804,142 in her campaign fund, second only to Emanuel’s running total of $4.7 million.
But, many of Gainer’s donors also contribute to Emanuel. And they are unlikely to risk taking sides against a two-term incumbent mayor.