Alvarez leading in campaign cash, but Foxx gaining ground
While Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez started the new year with a big fundraising advantage over her two opponents, one challenger is quickly picking up steam by netting a number of donations from Democratic lawmakers following her endorsement by party officials in January.
A Daily Herald analysis of campaign contributions through Feb. 15 found that in the first six weeks of the year, Flossmoor Democrat Kim Foxx, a former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, raised $148,391.
Alvarez, of River Forest, meanwhile, raised $128,382. Attorney Donna More of Chicago brought in $40,251 and took out a $50,000 loan earlier this month.
The money comes on top of the financial disclosure reports filed by the candidates in mid-January, which revealed that Alvarez had $697,191 in available campaign cash at the end of 2015. Foxx had $366,929, while More had $216,604.
Alvarez, who is seeking a third term, has faced intense scrutiny after waiting more than a year to file first-degree murder charges against a white Chicago police officer in the shooting of a black 17-year-old.
Alvarez described the investigation into the death of Laquan McDonald as "meticulous and thorough" and says neither opponent has the experience for such cases. But both Foxx and More say it should have been handled more efficiently and transparently. Following months of outcry about the case, the Cook County Democratic Party in early January moved to reverse an earlier decision not to endorse in the race, voting instead to back Foxx.
For Foxx, that endorsement has translated into the receipt of a number of donations from Democratic state lawmakers. Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie's re-election committee gave $5,000 to Foxx on Jan. 15, while state Rep. Will Guzzardi gave her $2,500 on Jan. 29. A trust in the name of Barry Nekritz, the husband of state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, gave Foxx $2,000 on Jan. 22.
Alvarez continues to bring in donations from a number of trial attorneys, including a $10,000 donation from Kevin Durkin on Feb. 5. Durkin is the brother of Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and federal Judge Tom Durkin. Personal injury attorneys John Cooney and Robert Cooney Jr. of the Chicago law firm Cooney and Conway donated $12,500 apiece to Alvarez's campaign Feb. 5. Former Gov. James R. Thompson gave her a $1,000 donation on Feb 1.
Donations to More, who is a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP and a former state and federal prosecutor, include $2,500 from her law firm on Feb. 1, $1,000 from Thad Wong, co-founder of the real estate brokerage @Properties, on Jan. 18, and $1,000 from Michael Alter, owner of the Chicago Sky. A $250,000 personal donation by More to her campaign at the end of 2015 lifted contribution caps in the race.
The primary is March 15.