Emanuel raising big money from out-of-towners

January 21, 2011

Updated at 11:50 a.m. 

Rahm Emanuel's campaign fund has racked up roughly $12 million dollars in the ex-White House chief of staff's quest to become Chicago's next mayor. But less than half of that cash came from inside the city limits.

Emanuel's latest fundraising report, filed Thursday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, shows he is far outpacing his rivals in the race for mayor. His total includes the roughly $1.1 million he transferred from his federal campaign account - leftover funds from his congressional career.

Help from California, New York

Emanuel got a big boost from some donors who will have no chance to vote in the February 22nd election. Based on the contributions itemized in Emanuel's reports through late last week, more than half of the money reported came from contributors with addresses outside Chicago. That includes a $50,000 donation from Donald Trump, $75,000 from Steven Spielberg, and more than $200,000 from Haim Saban, a former owner of Fox Family Channel, and his wife Cheryl.

By way of context, 36 percent of the itemized cash raised by Mayor Richard Daley's 2007 re-election campaign came from donors with addresses outside the city. The report filed yesterday by Gery Chico, a former school board head and current mayoral contender, shows that 45 percent of the money listed in his itemized contributions came from outside Chicago.

While Emanuel raised hefty donation totals from around the country, with big hauls from residents of New York City and Beverly Hills, nearly all of Chico's non-Chicago dollars came from the suburbs.

Emanuel's campaign, in emails Friday morning, chose to focus on other numbers - individual contributors rather than dollars - that could indicate stronger local support. According to spokesman Ben LaBolt, non-Chicagoans made up just 39 percent of Emanuel's campaign donors through Wednesday.

Chico takes second

All told, Chico reported raising more than $2.5 million dollars for his campaign.

Another candidate, Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, raised just over a half-million dollars. Close to $300,000 of that came from Pastor Joseph L. Stanford of Ambassadors for Christ Ministries, who is the founder of Target Area Development Corporation, the group Van Pelt Watkins led until she began her campaign for mayor. She was also helped by an excess of $82,000 in donations from the organization's staff.

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun's campaign filed a report declaring close to $450,000 in donations. Community activist Bill "Dock" Walls reported raising no money during the second half of 2010 in his run for mayor.

As of late Friday morning, campaign finance reports were not available on the election board's website for mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle, who is currently the Chicago city clerk.

Where the Daley money has gone

Mayor Daley's refusal to make a public endorsement in the mayoral election does not mean his top donors have decided to sit on the fence, as well.

In the four years prior to his 2007 re-election, Daley received $25,000 or more in contributions from at least 63 different people, political action committees, unions or businesses. A quick look at the recently-filed campaign finance reports reveals that at least 17 of those Daley-backers have given money to Emanuel's campaign, accounting for more than $900,000. These include gifts from some of the biggest names in Chicago business: John A. Canning, Jr., Richard Driehaus, , Kenneth C. Griffin, Mellody L. Hobson - the list goes on.

Chico scored cash from a small handful of the top Daley backers, most notably Patrick G. Ryan, the Olympic booster and founder of Aon. Moseley Braun received a large chunk of her fundraising total from another Daley donor, John W. Rogers, Jr., founder of Ariel Investments. Rogers gave her $100,000.