GOP megadonor Uihlein gave $305,000 to state Senate candidate Davie, report shows

  • Republican Barrett Davie, left, and Democratic incumbent Julie Morrison are running for state Senate District 29

    Republican Barrett Davie, left, and Democratic incumbent Julie Morrison are running for state Senate District 29

 
 

Nearly all the cash Republican state Senate candidate Barrett Davie got from supporters in the year's third quarter came from one man: conservative megadonor and fellow Lake Forest resident Richard Uihlein.

Uihlein, co-owner of the Uline shipping supplies company, donated $305,000 of the $389,095 Davie collected between July 1 and Sept. 30, Illinois State Board of Elections records show.

Uihlein has pumped millions into GOP campaigns across the U.S., including former Illinois gubernatorial hopeful Jeanne Ives, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and ex-Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

Davie's rival in the 29th District race, incumbent Democrat Julie Morrison of Deerfield, raised nearly $230,873 in the quarter, records show. More than half that cash came from groups representing labor unions, pharmaceutical companies, banks and other interests.

Morrison campaign manager Teresa Tolliver called Uihlein "a far-right extremist" and says he has funded candidates who've expressed bigoted views and opposed abortion rights and LGBTQ rights. She urged Davie, who supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage, to return Uihlein's money.

"This is not the voice we want pulling strings in Springfield for the district," Tolliver said.

Davie campaign manager Philippe Melin said Morrison should return money from special interest groups and unions before "(making) accusations about money in politics."

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"Sen. Morrison is throwing stones from a glass house," Melin said.

Davie's report

Davie and Morrison will face off Nov. 6. The district includes parts of northwest Cook County and eastern Lake County.

Candidates for state office must file quarterly disclosure reports with the elections board once their donations reach certain thresholds. Additionally, donations of $1,000 or more must be reported as they come in.

Reports are viewable online at elections.il.gov.

Davie received dozens of donations during the quarter and hundreds over the course of the campaign. The majority "have come from people not named Richard Uihlein," Davie said.

Even so, no single donor has approached Uihlein's generosity.

Other backers included:

• Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin, who gave $5,600.

• Midland Paper CEO Edwin Hooker, who gave $1,000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• The Illinois Opportunity Project, a public policy group cofounded by conservative activist and radio host Dan Proft, which gave $5,000.

Davie reported no transfers from political committees. He lent his campaign $100,000.

Davie's campaign started the quarter with about $297,774 saved. It spent more than $277,149 during the period and finished September with nearly $509,719.

Davie also reported receiving $42,400 in donations of $1,000 or more since Oct. 1, including $25,000 from the Guaranteed Trust Life Insurance Co.

Morrison's report

Morrison reported $71,165 in individual donations and $159,600 in transfers from political committees the last quarter.

Backers included:

• Arlington Park Racecourse, which gave $1,500.

• Media company Newsweb Corp., which gave $11,100.

• Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management's political committee, which gave $55,400.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Horizon Pharma USA, which gave $3,000.

Morrison started the quarter with nearly $601,414 saved. She spent more than $169,784 during the period and ended September with nearly $662,503 banked.

She also reported $55,355 in donations of $1,000 or more since Oct. 1, including a $10,000 check from the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education, a group associated with the Illinois Education Association labor union.

Davie criticized Morrison's union and corporate donations, saying she "is part of (House Speaker) Mike Madigan's big money game of Springfield politics."

When asked about the cash from unions and industry groups, Tolliver insisted Morrison votes based on the best interests of her community.

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