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The Empire Strikes Back

Thursday, Mar 29, 2007

I had a long talk yesterday with people running both the Naisy Dolar and Berny Stone races in the 50th Ward runoff election. Dolar seems set to run a better campaign than she did in the first round, but Stone has also ramped up his efforts, bringing in Mike Noonan, one of the top campaign operatives in the state. I’ll have more on this specific race later.

As we all know, lots of incuments were forced into primary runoffs, but many of them didn’t bother to run even half-decent campaigns. There was not much mail touting their specific achievements and almost nothing attacking their opponents. That will change for many incuments in the coming weeks as the Machine gears up to fight back.

And it looks like some of them will be able to tap into a big warchest. From the Tribune

Some of Mayor Richard Daley’s most loyal supporters from his Bridgeport power base and from the business community have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to a newly created political account for Daley-endorsed aldermen who face strong challengers.

While labor unions have spent massive amounts trying to defeat the mayor’s City Council allies, Daley personally has given very little from his campaign fund to embattled aldermen who almost always vote with him. […]

But state records show that an obscure campaign fund established two months ago has quickly collected almost $300,000 for council candidates. The fund, led by longtime Daley supporter and real estate magnate Elzie Higginbottom, has received most of its biggest donations from clout-heavy 11th Ward players, including former top mayoral aide Timothy Degnan and Fred Barbara, a Bridgeport businessman and Daley friend.

The largest single donor to the effort, known as the First C.D. Victory PAC, was Commonwealth Edison, which provides electricity to Chicago under a franchise agreement with City Hall. […]

Almost $100,000 from the new fund already has gone to council incumbents opposed by union-backed candidates. The beneficiaries include Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd), Dorothy Tillman (3rd), Shirley Coleman (16th) and Lona Lane (18th).

Take a look at the committee’s details. Tons of developers are on the contribution lists, plus Machine stalwarts like Tim Degnan and Fred Barbara. ComEd’s PAC and top officials with the company have contributed $67,000. The Illinois Merchants PAC (read: “Big Box Ordinance”) kicked in $25,000.

The fund was apparently started to help Congressman Bobby Rush, but Rush bowed out as an officer in February and now the money is being funnelled to various aldermen.

* More local stories…

* 18th ward candidate decides to stay in the race; some say flip flop points to fraud

* Fioretti nabs endorsements

* The Second Ward in black and white

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Levois - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:58 am:

    I wonder how much aldermanic candidates in Chicago spend. It’s unreal how much I’ve seen, that is if I read the statements correctly they bring in. If you’re running a local campaign for what should be a part time office, I don’t think you should raise anywhere close to $100K. I think maybe less than $10K should be OK. Well that’s my two cents.

  2. - Bridget Dooley - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    In a competitive race, you need a base of about $300,000 to do it right.

  3. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    Oh Oh! If Barbara if coughing up more dough I guess that means Jimbo’s is gone for good!

  4. - Underdog - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:41 pm:

    If the poll numbers from yesterday are anywhere close to accurate, I don’t think the money is going to save Haithcock, Tillman, Coleman or Matlak. Natarus had a lot of money and it didn’t help him. I’m happy to see the Mayor putting up some dough, because I’m tired of very bad Aldermen using union money as a convenient excuse for why they’re losing.

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    “Levois” a ten grand limit would pretty much guarantee that no incumbents would ever be defeated.

  6. - fedup dem - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 1:15 pm:

    Calling the 2nd Ward an African-American majority ward today is probably more than just a stretch; it probably isn’t even true now.

    Let’s look at the facts. As recently as the 1980s, the 2nd Ward’s boundaries were 26th St. on the NORTH and 45th St. on the South. But in an effort to maximize the number of African-American wards after the 1990 Census, the 2nd Ward (which had been 91.9% African-American in the 1980 Census) had its boundaries pushed north to the south edge of the Loop. This lowered the percentage of African-Americans in the ward down to the high 60s.

    When the 2000 Census figures came out, which showed that every existing African-American ward had lost population while the city as a whole gained population, the 2nd was one of a number of black wards gerrymandered to the extreme in order to keep 20 wards with at least 65% African-American population. Only a handful of precincts remained from the traditional 2nd Ward area (south of 26th Street), primarily the precincts stretching past Ald. Haithcock’s residence down to the home of the Democratic Committeeman, Congressman Bobby Rush (more than 80% of the current 2nd Ward is not in Cong. Rush’s 1st Congressional District). The current ward snakes its way thru the Loop and out to the West Side, stuggling to include every African-American available to get to that magic 65% figure. It was done, but only by including the east half of the Juvenile Court complex in the ward, the part containing the Juvenile Detention Center (allowing the mapmakers to count the few hundred incareated African-American jeveniles there in the grand total).

    The problem is that the Census figures were taken on April 1, 2000. In the seven years since then, the ward has seen much of its public housing stock torn down while numerous high-rise and high-priced housing built in its place. Add to that the surging college student population in the ward, and the ward has probably seen a shift of more than a third of its 2000 population. If you took a Census today the ward would be at least 50% white, which probably translates into a voting pool that is closer to 60% white.

    Haithcock, one of Mayor Daley’s most loyal [deleted by Miller because it’s way impolite] on theCity Council, signed off on all this redevelopment in her ward. After she gives her concession speech on April 17, she can look in a mirror and see the first person for her to blame for her political demise.

  7. - Victor - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:16 pm:

    Mike Noonan and his partner HDO can become an issue in the 50th ward race.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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