Less than a week until the election and I just wanted to make sure my recent story in the Hyde Park Herald on the 4th Ward aldermanic campaigns’ fund raising was online.
State Rep. Will Burns (D-26) is way ahead — I mean like looking down on the other candidates from atop his mountain of cash ahead. In a race where other candidates are largely bankrolling their own campaigns, it’s surprising how much of that money Burns is spending. I would venture to say that Norman Bolden and George Rumsey are the only other candidates with any real name recognition in the ward, and they’re both relegated to little pockets they don’t venture out of too often. Still, Burns spent $22,500 on polling from Anzalone Liszt Research, a firm that seems to have a solid hold in Illinois despite its Alabama Zip Code.
Burns has the right wallets open to afford it though. Fred Eychaner, the reclusive president of Newsweb, downtown parking lot king and Dem booster, pitched in $10,000 to the campaign.
With the huge Michael Reese Hospital parcel opening up for development in the near future, a lot of donors may be getting in early with the new gatekeeper. I mention the pharmaceutical industry’s donations in the article, but there are a fair number of retail-connected firms throwing in a few bucks too.
- McLaurin Development Partners and owner Zebedee McLaurin, $2,500 total. A large real estate developer with ties to national retail chains. Brought strip malls to Chatham and other South Side neighborhoods.
- Target Corporation, $500.
- Sears Holdings Management Corp., $500.
- Meijer, $1,000.
- McLane Company of Temple, Texas, $1,000. Supplier to fast food chains like KFC, Arby’s and others.
- Knight Partners, $1,000. An engineering and architectural firm with contracts with the Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District and others.
You can see a little of the back-and-forth in the releases too. The Government Navigation Group, $1,000. Lobbying firm. Burns paid $1,000 for an event ticket for one of their clients, the antigun group Brady PAC Illinos.
There’s plenty more to dig through. Everything seems above board. I questioned a $5,000 donation from Medley’s Self Storage, a company owned by Howard C. Medley, a former CTA board member convicted in 1993 of taking a $25,000 bribe from a contractor. Another contribution came in recently from Medley’s, pushing it up to $10,000 total for Burns.
The late money is always interesting. David Weinberg, the artist associated with the Weinberg Gallery and also a charter school booster on the board of Illinois Network of Charter Schools, donated $2,500. ASGK Public Strategies, where Burns is a managing director, also pledged $1,500.
What does all this say? That Burns is a politician, just like he’s been saying the whole time on the campaign trail.
Toni Preckwinkle set the precedent here. She always said, you can take money from whoever you want as long as you and they both know they’re not buying anything with their donation.
I’m just surprised none of the other candidates have tried to use Burns’ money against him. Hasn’t happened yet.
Burns ahead in cash
During the last six months of 2010, many 4th Ward candidates got their campaigns rolling with an infusion from their own wallets, according to disclosures posted by the state late last month.
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