Raoul re­ports $1M from Speaker Madigan

Obama ad touts Harold’s ri­val for at­tor­ney gen­eral

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAND - By Rick Pear­son and Bill Ruth­hart rap30@aol.com bruth­hart@chicagotri­bune.com

Illi­nois Democrats are show­er­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral can­di­date Kwame Raoul with late cam­paign cash and in­creased at­ten­tion amid con­cerns of a tight­en­ing con­test against Repub­li­can ri­val Erika Harold.

Raoul re­ported re­ceiv­ing a $1 mil­lion cam­paign check late Fri­day from House Speaker Michael Madigan, as part of a flurry of cash to help push the Hyde Park Demo­crat across the elec­toral fin­ish line with a vic­tory in his first statewide race. The African-Amer­i­can state sen­a­tor also is seek­ing to ben­e­fit from a late ra­dio ad cut by the pre­de­ces­sor of his Spring­field seat: former Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who was to ap­pear at a Sun­day rally for the Demo­cratic ticket at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago.

At the same time, Harold, an Ur­bana at­tor­ney, bought lim­ited broad­cast TV ad­ver­tis­ing time in the Chicago mar­ket for the race’s fi­nal week­end. Her cam­paign late Fri­day also pur­chased ca­ble ad­ver­tis­ing time in the Chicago mar­ket.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s cam­paign has evolved into the most con­tested statewide race out­side the highly vis­i­ble con­test for gov­er­nor be­tween in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Bruce Rauner and Demo­crat J.B. Pritzker. Raoul and Harold are vy­ing for the seat be­ing given up af­ter four terms by Demo­cratic At­tor­ney Gen­eral Lisa Madigan, daugh­ter of the House speaker, who is Rauner’s neme­sis.

One prom­i­nent Demo­crat said a recent track­ing poll of the race showed it to be close with a large number of un­de­cided AfricanAmer­i­can vot­ers. Harold also is African-Amer­i­can, though black vot­ers are a core Demo­cratic con­stituency, and the Obama ad and visit could as­sist in turnout for Raoul and the rest of the Demo­cratic ticket.

Over­all, Raoul has out­raised Harold, reel­ing in more than $12 mil­lion com­pared with her $5.4 mil­lion. Raoul, though, faced an eight-way March pri­mary while Harold had a nom­i­nal ri­val in the GOP con­test.

In ad­di­tion to the $1 mil­lion from Madigan, Raoul’s haul has in­cluded $2.9 mil­lion from Pritzker’s cam­paign; $400,000 from GCM Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks, a top donor and con­fi­dant of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; and sev­eral siz­able do­na­tions from la­bor unions, cam­paign fi­nance records show.

Raoul has out­raised Harold by more than 14-to-1 in the cam­paign’s fi­nal days.

From Oct. 23 through Fri­day, Raoul took in more than $2.4 mil­lion in cash and as­sis­tance. Oct. 23 marked two weeks out from the Nov. 6 elec­tion. That to­tal in­cludes the $1 mil­lion from Madigan, nearly $445,000 worth of phone bank­ing as­sis­tance plus $55,400 in cash from the Demo­cratic Party of Illi­nois, $103,867 worth of mail­ings from the abor­tion-rights ad­vo­cacy group Per­sonal PAC, $200,000 from the La­bor­ers’ union and $50,000 from the Team­sters union.

Over that same stretch of the cam­paign, Harold re­ported re­ceiv­ing $166,850. Of her over­all haul of $5.4 mil­lion, $3.5 mil­lion — or 64 per­cent — came from Rauner and Rauner ally Ken Grif­fin, founder of Citadel. Rauner con­trib­uted $1.8 mil­lion while Grif­fin gave $1.7 mil­lion.

On Satur­day, cam­paign­ing with other Repub­li­cans in Naperville, Harold crit­i­cized Madigan’s late-stage $1 mil­lion do­na­tion to Raoul. “I think it shows how much that Pritzker and Madigan do not want me to be at­tor­ney gen­eral and to be a check on them in Spring­field,” she said.

In Lom­bard, cam­paign­ing with Pritzker, Raoul de­fended the late money — “It takes re­sources to com­mu­ni­cate” — and noted the bulk of Harold’s fi­nanc­ing came from Rauner and Grif­fin. Other late as­sis­tance for Raoul has in­cluded stump­ing from other fel­low Democrats seek­ing to boost his sup­port. Ear­lier in the week, Chris Kennedy, who was de­feated in the Demo­cratic pri­mary for gov­er­nor, sent an email to his sup­port­ers urg­ing a vote for Raoul. At a Fri­day news con­fer­ence, mem­bers of the Demo­cratic ticket touted Raoul and crit­i­cized Harold.

“Look, I’ve been ex­tremely vo­cal about the need to elect more women to of­fice,” state Comp­trol­ler Su­sana Men­doza said. “But we need to elect women who are ac­tu­ally for women and who will stand up to pro­tect women’s rights. That is not Erika Harold.”

Raoul al­lies ac­knowl­edged pri­vately that the con­test would likely be among the clos­est of statewide races on the bal­lot, though they dis­missed con­cerns that their can­di­date could be in dan­ger. In­ter­nal polling has shown Raoul has con­sis­tently trailed the larger leads held by other Democrats seek­ing statewide of­fice, par­tic­u­larly Pritzker, party in­sid­ers said.

Raoul said Fri­day that while Obama en­dorsed his can­di­dacy in Au­gust, he wished he’d had the ra­dio ad­ver­tise­ment sooner. “That was the de­ci­sion of the former pres­i­dent,” Raoul said. “He’s made a de­ci­sion to come home, and he’s made a de­ci­sion to record an ad in sup­port of my can­di­dacy, and I ap­pre­ci­ate it. I would have loved it in the pri­mary, but I have it now and I em­brace it.”

In an ef­fort to ap­peal to a larger group of vot­ers, Raoul also has sought to shift the clos­ing cam­paign de­bate to the is­sue of health care and off the sub­ject of Harold’s per­sonal op­po­si­tion to abor­tion rights. Harold, as a con­gres­sional can­di­date in 2014, told The NewsGazette in Champaign that she did not be­lieve the Af­ford­able Care Act could be fixed and that Congress should “re­peal it all.”


Kwame Raoul greets CTA rid­ers in Chicago last week. He and Erika Harold are vy­ing to suc­ceed Lisa Madigan.


Harold, shown Oct. 25, said a late $1M do­na­tion to Raoul shows Democrats don’t want her to be “a check on them.”

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