Cash pours in for state House hopeful Edly-Allen days after she calls for donation limits

Responding to a moderator's question at a recent political forum in Barrington, Democratic state representative candidate Mary Edly-Allen said campaigns should be limited to $100,000 in contributions and lamented her opponent's spending on "very expensive" mailers and television commercials.

But soon after portraying herself as a financial underdog, money began flowing to Edly-Allen.

Campaign finance records culled by Illinois Sunshine show Edly-Allen has received $290,726 in contributions since the Oct. 6 forum, dwarfing the haul of Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh.

Edly-Allen, a teacher from Libertyville, is facing Miller Walsh in the Nov. 6 election for the seat representing House District 51.

The district includes all or portions of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.

Miller Walsh, a Mundelein-area resident, was appointed in August to replace state Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington, who resigned amid accusations he posted nude photographs of an ex-girlfriend over social media without her knowledge. Sauer's term expires in January.

Edly-Allen has $318,296 cash on hand compared to Miller Walsh's $134,271, according to the nonprofit Illinois Sunshine campaign finance database Tuesday.

Edly-Allen said her finances lagged Miller Walsh's on the day she spoke at the League of Women Voters forum at Barrington Area Library and didn't know she would receive the nearly $300,000 in contributions that began rolling in four days later.

"We need to take a real closer look at finance reform," Edly-Allen said. "When I spoke on Saturday, that (lack of cash) was the truth. I actually had a conversation with the (House) Speaker (Michael Madigan) on Sunday afternoon. And I was like, 'I need help. She's got mailers. I can't afford them.' I needed to counterpunch."

Miller Walsh, who doesn't favor campaign funding limits, criticized Edly-Allen for taking donations well beyond $100,000 after saying candidates should be limited. As part of her response to forum moderator Tahman Bradley, Edly-Allen said it was difficult matching Miller Walsh's "very expensive" mailers and TV commercials.

"It's one thing to accept $300,000 from Mike Madigan and his cronies, but it is completely hypocritical for Mary Edly-Allen to announce to the League of Women Voters that she wants to limit her campaign - and all others - to $100,000, then immediately cash every $50,000 check Madigan brings to her campaign coffers," Miller Walsh said in a statement to the Daily Herald. "If Mary were honest, she would give Madigan his money back and tell him she won't be bought off and vote for him for speaker of the House."

Top donors to Edly-Allen since the Oct. 6 forum include the Illinois Federation of Teachers union, with $55,400; Friends of Michelle Mussman, at $55,000; Friends of Mike Halpin, with $55,000; Friends of Martin J. Moylan, at $55,000; the Committee to Elect Jay C. Hoffman, at $45,000; and the Democratic Party of Illinois, with $22,176.

Miller Walsh's top donors include the Illinois Republican Party, at $112,710; Richard Uihlein, with $5,600; and John Hamilton, at $5,000. Miller Walsh loaned $50,000 to her campaign.

Edly-Allen and Miller Walsh disagree on several issues. For example, Miller Walsh said she supports the idea of allowing well-trained teachers to be armed in the classrooms in an effort to make students safer, which Edly-Allen opposes.

Should teachers carry guns? 51st District candidates disagree

Mary Edly-Allen: Candidate profile

Helene Miller Walsh: Candidate profile

  Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh, right, and her Democratic challenger, Mary Edly-Allen, appeared at a candidate forum in Barrington this month. Edly-Allen has received $290,726 in contributions since the Oct. 6 forum, at which she said campaign funding should be limited to $100,000 per candidate. Bob Susnjara/
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