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“Chuy” Garcia raises $600,000 for campaign

In his first fundraising report since campaigning for Chicago mayor, U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chewy” Garcia reported a hefty $607,000 in contributions, mostly from his traditional political allies.

The filing, presented by state officials Tuesday, offers a look at alternative funding sources he will use after some of his past supporters announced their support for Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Garcia’s fundraising disclosures show he can raise money for a campaign without the unions that backed his 2015 mayoral race against Rahm Emanuel, but it remains to be seen if Garcia can sustain the momentum.

According to the statement, Garcia gave himself $95,000 from his congressional fund and received donations from legislative allies including state senators Cristina Castro and Celina Villanueva; state representatives Aaron Ortiz, Edgar Gonzalez, Jaime Andrade and Teresa Ma; representative-elect Norma Hernandez; and Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya.

Other donations include $62,000 from PURPLE PAC, $25,000 from TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE PAC and $5,888 from U.S. Rep. Ted Lew of California. Garcia also reported donations from Juan Gaitan, head of the politically connected Monterrey Security.

That’s a large amount compared to what most other candidates have reported, but to keep up, Garcia will likely need to expand his donor base beyond his political allies.

Johnson, who is battling Garcia for progressive votes, has received endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU Local 73 and SEIU Health Care. It also raised more than $600,000, with much of it coming from those unions.

The candidates seeking to defeat Mayor Laurie Lightfoot have failed to raise particularly large sums of money this cycle, except for Johnson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Wallace and businessman Willie Wilson. Lightfoot, however, did not make enough money to scare off rivals.

In the most recent fundraising quarter spanning July, August and September, the mayor’s main political account, Lightfoot for Chicago, raised about $1 million but spent more than $607,000, leaving about $2.9 million on hand , according to new disclosure statements.

Since Oct. 15, the incumbent has reported raising about $1.3 million, records show. More than $262,800 came from labor organizations, including $150,000 from the Carpenters Union, and $25,000 each from the Chicago Finishing Trades Cooperative and the Plumbers Union.

To help the mayor, Lightfoot’s close allies created a new campaign fund no restrictions on how much money members can give or who they are – Lightfoot’s restrictions must follow.

While the Committee of 77 has no limits on how much money it can receive and from whom, as an independent spending committee it cannot coordinate with Lightfoot or any political campaigns. He has already received $100,000 from politically connected companies — $80,000 from a ping-pong company whose chairman also heads an information technology company that does business with the city, and $20,000 from a South Side construction company that includes on the city’s contractor list, and is also working on the Obama Presidential Center.

Wilson reported raising just over $1 million, though almost all of it was a loan from himself. Records show Wilson spent $906,000 and ended the quarter with nearly $4.7 million in the bank. Almost all of it was self-donated.

Vallas ended the quarter with the third-highest amount of cash on hand at $852,000, according to the quarterly report. It reported taking in $153,370 in the quarter, a pittance compared to the $886,000 it raised in the first quarter. But he reported more than $700,000 in donations this month, giving him a significant financial boost and some momentum in his campaign for support.

Johnson has reported more than $679,000 in contributions from various labor organizations since early September, records show. That includes an initial $59,900 from the CTU — which was given before he officially entered the race — as well as additional contributions from the powerful union of about $21,400.

Other known labor donations to Johnson include $240,100 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, $250,000 from SEIU Local 73 and $100,000 from SEIU Local 1.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Johnson had more than $71,400 in cash, campaign finance records show. Since then, he has reported raising more than $687,300.


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