GOP's Lake County clerk hopeful reports big donations

Republican Lake County clerk candidate Carla Wyckoff has received some substantial political donations in recent weeks, state records show, including one from a nationally prominent GOP donor.

Conversely, Wyckoff's Democratic rival, Janet Kilkelly, hasn't reported receiving any checks above $1,000 in months.

Wyckoff, of Lake Forest, and Kilkelly, of Waukegan, are running to replace veteran Lake County Clerk Willard Helander, a Libertyville Republican who's not seeking re-election.

The candidates' fundraising reports can be viewed on the Illinois State Board of Elections website,

Candidates for local, township, county or state office must regularly file campaign disclosure reports once their donations reach certain thresholds.

Any donations of at least $1,000 must be reported individually, too.

Wyckoff, an assistant state's attorney in Lake County, reported receiving three donations of $1,000 or more in September, records show.

One of those checks came from Richard Uihlein, a Lake Forest resident and the president of the Uline packaging supply company in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. He gave $1,000.

Uihlein has prolifically supported conservative candidates and political action committees in Illinois and across the country.

He's given more than $5 million to candidates just in Illinois, including state Sen. Dan Duffy, state Rep. David Harris, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, records show.

Nationally, Uihlein has given millions to candidates including U.S. senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas - all of whom are considered possible GOP presidential candidates in 2016.

Uihlein gave Wyckoff $5,300 in February, too.

As for the other big checks Wyckoff received in September, $5,000 came from Lake Forest resident Howard Simpson and $1,000 came from the Lake Villa Township Republican organization.

Wyckoff said she's "very humbled" by the financial support and encouragement she's received.

"It makes you realize what a (big) responsibility you have to do a good job," she said.

Kilkelly, a Waukegan Park District board member, last reported receiving a donation of $1,000 or more in May, her campaign records show.

Kilkelly acknowledged lagging behind Wyckoff in fundraising but didn't sound too concerned. She proudly called her campaign a grass-roots effort.

"I don't have the deep pockets that the Republicans have," she said.

Kilkelly said she thinks Democratic donors are cutting checks to candidates in more high-profile races, such as contests for Congress and governor.

"I'd love to have the money," she said. "But if people need to choose between paying their bills and giving me a couple bucks, I'm OK."

In addition to the individual reports for donations of at least $1,000, Illinois candidates must file quarterly finance reports with the elections board. The reports for the third quarter, covering donations and spending from July 1 through Sept. 30, are due Oct. 15.

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