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posted: 1/21/2010 12:01 AM

Cook Co. candidates follow the money

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Cook County candidates filed their campaign-finance reports for the second half of 2009 as required by law Wednesday, but some took longer than others to beat the midnight deadline.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Terrence O'Brien was the only Democratic candidate in the race for president of the Cook County Board to post his disclosure during business hours. He took in $759,887 during the second half of last year and spent $658,198, almost $400,000 of that on his TV ad campaign. That left him with $101,689, but he has added $129,600 in the new year, $10,000 of that from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. The Chamber of Commerce announced it would formally endorse O'Brien Thursday.

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Chicago Hyde Park Alderman Toni Preckwinkle followed at 9 p.m. She added $389,391 to the $340,343 she had on hand midway through last year to give her $729,733. She spent $285,215 before the end of the year, leaving her $444,519, but that did not count expenditures for her recent TV ads. On the other hand, Preckwinkle led all four in new major donations this year with $151,300, $25,000 of that from Newsweb media maven Fred Eychaner, owner of progressive-talk WCPT 820-AM.

Incumbent President Todd Stroger and Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown had yet to file their final 2009 disclosures late Wednesday.

As for major contributions of $500 or more this year - which have to be declared within days of receiving them - Stroger had taken in but $14,000 until Wednesday, when his campaign fund posted a $100,000 contribution from the war chest of former state Senate president Emil Jones. That, along with another contribution, brought Stroger's 2010 total to $115,000. Brown has added $64,117 in large donations this year, $20,000 of that contributed by herself.

On the Republican side, both candidates filed their 2009 disclosures early. Roger Keats of Wilmette took in $18,724 in the second half of 2009 - including $500 from Warren Batts, volunteer head of the independent board overseeing the county's Health & Hospitals System - and spent about half of it, leaving him with $9,312. His primary opponent, John Garrido of Chicago, took in $78,387, but $51,948 of that was in loans: $2,000 from himself and almost $50,000 from his father, likewise a Chicago police officer. By the end of the year, Garrido had spent $56,909, leaving him with $21,478.

In the assessor's race, sitting Board of Review Commissioner Joseph Berrios took in $284,516 in large contributions this year, $230,000 of that from his other political campaign committees, as he is also a Chicago Democratic committeeman and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Robert Shaw amassed $5,600. Raymond Figueroa took in $26.950 overall in the second half of the year, but $20,000 of that was in a $10,000 contribution and a $10,000 loan from Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado's campaign committee. Maldonado and Figueroa are progressive allies.

Incumbent Sheriff Tom Dart added $39,350 in the second half of last year to the $215,924 he already had on hand, then spent $87,971, leaving him with $167,312. He has added a couple of $1,000 contributions this year. His opponent Sylvester Baker had not filed a 2009 disclosure by late Wednesday.

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