In his first fundraising report since launching his campaign for Chicago mayor, U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García reported a hefty $607,000 in contributions, largely from his traditional political allies.
The filing, submitted to state officials Tuesday, offers a look at the alternative sources of funding he will tap after some of his past backers announced their support for Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. García’s fundraising disclosure shows he can raise campaign cash without the unions that endorsed his 2015 mayoral race against Rahm Emanuel, but it remains to be seen whether García can sustain the momentum.
According to the filing, García gave himself $95,000 from his congressional fund and received donations from legislative allies including state Sens. Cristina Castro and Celina Villanueva; state Reps. Aaron Ortiz, Edgar Gonzalez, Jaime Andrade and Theresa Mah; Rep.-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 Lieu of California. García also reported donations from Juan Gaytan, head of politically connected Monterrey Security.
The haul is a large amount compared with what most other candidates have reported so far, but García will likely need to expand his donor base beyond his political allies to keep pace.
Johnson, who is vying with García for progressive votes, has received endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union as well as Service Employees International Union Local 73 and Healthcare. He’s raised more than $600,000 as well, with much of it coming from those unions.
Candidates looking to defeat Mayor Lori Lightfoot have not been able to raise particularly large sums of cash in this cycle, aside from Johnson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and businessman Willie Wilson. Lightfoot, however, has not pulled in enough money to scare off rivals.
In the last fundraising quarter that covers July, August and September, the mayor’s main political account, Lightfoot for Chicago, raised about $1 million but spent more than $607,000, ending it with about $2.9 million on hand, according to new disclosure filings.
Since Oct. 15, the incumbent has reported raising about $1.3 million, records show. More than $262,800 came from labor organizations, including a $150,000 donation from the carpenters union as well as $25,000 each from the Finishing Trades of Chicago Co-op and the plumbers union.
To help support the mayor, Lightfoot’s close allies have created a new campaign fund unbound by how much money contributors can give or who they are — restrictions Lightfoot must abide by.
While the 77 Committee is not restricted in how much money it can receive or from whom, as an independent expenditure committee it can’t coordinate with Lightfoot or any political campaigns. It has already received $100,000 from politically connected firms — $80,000 from a table tennis company whose chairman also chairs an information technology company that does business with the city, and $20,000 from a South Side construction company that is on a list of city contractors and also is working on the Obama Presidential Center.
Wilson reported raising slightly more than $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 that was self-donated.
Vallas ended the quarter with the third-most amount of cash on hand with $852,000, according to the quarterly report. He reported taking in $153,370 in the quarter, a paltry sum compared with the $886,000 he amassed in the first quarter. But he has reported more than $700,000 in donations this month, giving him a sizable financial boost and some momentum as he tries to build support.
Johnson has reported more than $679,000 in contributions from various labor organizations since the start of September, records show. That includes an initial $59,900 from CTU — given before he was officially in the race — as well as additional contributions from the powerful union that total about $21,400.
Other notable labor donations to Johnson include a combined $240,100 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, $250,000 from SEIU Local 73 and $100,000 from SEIU Healthcare.
In the quarter that ended Sept. 30, Johnson reported having more than $71,400 in cash on hand, campaign finance records show. Since then, he has reported raising more than $687,300.