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Bobby Rush

The race to replace longtime Illinois U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is crowded -- and the candidates seeking to replace him have raised a collective total of more than $1.5 million so far this year.

Candidates for Illinois’ 1st congressional district have raised $1.5 million total

Candidates looking to replace outgoing Congressman Bobby Rush, D.-Ill., raised a collective total more than $1.5 million so far this year.

Federal campaign finance data filed Friday provides a first look at who could be pulling ahead in the crowded race to represent Chicago’s South Side and South Suburbs. The winner of the heavily Democratic, majority-Black district in the June 28 primary would likely be the odds-on favorite to take the seat in November.

That means candidates have a little more than 10 weeks left to get their message out to voters. In a race as jampacked as this one, money will help them do just that.

Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward, raised the most with $381,943.93, followed by Hyde Park businessman Jonathan Swain, who raised $375,784.96 and had the most cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

A day after Rush said he would not seek another term, Dowell ended her bid for Illinois secretary of state to run for Congress. Many of the same donors have given to her congressional campaign. Swain has never run for elected office, but has worked in local government for two decades, runs a nonprofit and owns Kimbark Beverage Shoppe.

Karin Norington-Reaves, the former head of the Cook Workforce Partnership who secured Rush’s endorsement in January, raised $291,000 and, according to her campaign, is “just shy of $350,000” raised to date.

Jonathan Jackson, the third son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, reported raising $144,738 and was endorsed late last week by Congressman Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

Trailing behind those four are Nykea Pippion McGriff, the first Black woman president of the Chicago Association of Realtors who pulled in $87,860; Charise Williams, former director of external affairs for the Chicago Federation of Labor, who raised $82,673; State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, who secured $79,245 in donations despite being unable to fundraise while the state legislature was in session due to state statute; and pastor Stephany Rose Spaulding, who brought in $73,106.10.

The remaining dozen Democratic candidates have raised far less or have not filed a quarterly report yet.

The 1st Congressional District has been represented by a Black man since Oscar DePreist was elected in 1929. Residents elected Rush to 15 terms, making him the longest person to hold the seat.

The lack of a frontrunner in this crowded race is evident in the campaign finance filings, with some big name donors giving to multiple candidates. For example, John Rogers Jr., the founder of Ariel Investments, gave the maximum $2,900 to three candidates: Collins, Jackson and Williams. Andrea Zopp, president of World Business Chicago, donated to Dowell, Swain, and Norington Reaves.

The race to replace Rush is not the only competitive congressional race in the Chicago region. The two Democratic frontrunners competing to represent the newly-created, majority-Latino 3rd district covering Chicago’s West Side and Western suburbs are Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 38th Ward, and State Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago. They raised $1.2 million collectively. And in the western suburbs, more than $1 million has been raised by the two incumbent Democrats competing for the 6th Congressional District seat, Congressman Sean Casten and Marie Newman.

Becky Vevea covers city politics and government for WBEZ. Follow her @beckyvevea.

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