(Chicago, IL) — January 29, 2010. Rather than a sprint–it’s a mad dash.
The petition challenge to State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago) by her primary opponent Joe Laiacona, which had threatened to toss her off the ballot, shackled the contest’s start.
And it shows in the fund-raising of each in the second half of 2009.
Mell, who is in her first term, raised only $18,516 during the first six-months of year. Laiacona pulled in $22,927–but $15,000 of that amount came from a personal loan by the candidate.
Since Mell dispatched Laiacona’s challenge, the daughter of Alderman Dick Mell (D-33) turbocharged her campaign, bringing in $27,166 in 2010 so far. Of that, $13,016 came in printing and postage for mail pieces from the political fund of House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
Outside of Madigan, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association has been Mell’s largest contributor, kicking in $3,500.
Mell, the Illinois legislature’s only openly lesbian lawmaker, has been showering her legislative district with mail, seven pieces at last count, and planting acres of yard-signs in the last few weeks.
Laiacona, an openly gay candidate, has brought in $10,500 in 2010. Of that amount, $5,000 come from the Part-Time Faculty Association at Columbia College and $5,000 reported, today, from a key Laiacona backer, the Illinois Education Association’s PAC.
Laiacona, who teaches at Columbia, says he has dropped four mail pieces over the last four weeks. Only one has reached THE iLLINOIS OSBSERVER, a district resident, and that was a couple days ago.
Between an aggressive mail campaign highlighting her legislative agenda on child sexual predators, education funding, and the 7% property tax assessment caps and her father’s army of precinct workers on the ground, Mell will likely overwhelm Laiacona. But Laiacona is making a fight of it.
The Democratic race, the first in Illinois between two openly gay and lesbian candidates, began in a torpor but is ending in a torrent.