Marking the momentum, manpower and money of Chicago’s mayor race

CHICAGO — Chicago’s mayor’s race will likely come down to three factors – momentum, manpower and money.

It’s been said “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” It gives a candidates and a campaign life; the ability to spread a messages, to hire staff and to get out the vote.

Bill Daley is head-and-shoulders above the pack taking in $8.65 million.  He has received two separate $1 million contributions from the state’s richest man, Ken Griffen.

Next is Tony Preckwinkle who has raked in $4.5 million.

Third is Gery Chico with more than $3 million.

Jerry Joyce, Susana Mendoza, Willie Wilson, Lori Lightfoot, Garry McCarthy, Paul Vallas and Bob Fioretti round out the rest.

Most mayoral campaign contributions have been larger than $1,000.  In other words, the average joe is an “afterthought,” as small donors are only having a small impact.

Hannah Kim with the non-partisan Illinois Public Interest Research Group analyzed the donations to Chicago’s field of mayoral candidates and said the voices of the public are diluted by corporate money and wealthy individuals.

“97 percent of these contributions received in aggregate, across all candidates’ campaigns, come from big money or large donors,” she said. “The concern is the integrity of our democracy really relies on that principle of one voice, one vote, one person.”

The watchdog group Reform for Illinois analyzed the source of contributions of two  top contenders. A vast majority of the financial industry is putting its money behind Daley, while labor unions are mainly funding Preckwinkle.  But political expert Jon Paul Valadez said with such a crowded field, money is leading to muddled messaging

“All the money that’s come in, whether it’s big or small dollars that are coming, they’re all saturating the market with media,” he said. “So you’re seeing TV ads, digital ads, mailers, that stuff is just so clouded right now.”

More than money, he said, the race could come down to manpower.

For all of the money being spent, nearly all of the candidates and expert observers agree that there will be no winner Tuesday, as the top two will likely face a runoff election and another race for more campaign cash.


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