Democrats contribute tens of thousands to Cook County Board races
Kevin Morrison might be a political newcomer, but the Democratic challenger for the Cook County Board District 15 seat that represents much of the Northwest suburbs is getting lots of financial help ahead of Tuesday's vote.
The Cook County Democratic Party has spent more than $260,000 on his campaign since June in Morrison's bid to unseat longtime Republican county board Commissioner Tim Schneider of Bartlett, who also chairs the Illinois Republican Party.
"This is insane," Schneider said, charging that county President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan "are trying to buy this election."
Schneider has raised more than $125,000 since July, most of it coming from state GOP in-kind contributions, with business PACs making up a large portion of the donations as well.
In addition to Morrison's race, Cook Democrats have given more than $250,000 to two other candidates -- Scott Britton and Abdelnassar Rashid -- who are vying for the seats of Republicans Gregg Goslin of Glenview and Sean Morrison of Palos Park, respectively.
The donations are in-kind contributions that have paid for polling, research and campaign materials, according to state financial records.
Kevin Morrison, of Elk Grove Village, also has received $58,000 since July from labor unions, according to his financial reports.
"Around two-thirds of my donations have been small-dollar and helped us bring in staff and open an office," he said. "We're getting the resources needed to run a successful campaign."
The last time Tim Schneider ran for his seat on the Cook County Board, he barely dipped into his campaign coffers to win re-election.
Schneider's campaign finance reports show he spent roughly $2,000 in the six months ahead of the 2014 election.
That's not the case this go-round, with Schneider already spending close to $25,000 on his bid to keep his seat. His opponent has spent four times that amount.
"I will never match the resources the Democrats are putting into this race," Schneider said. "But we've got the winning message, and I hope the good works I've delivered in the past will take me over the finish line."
Schneider said Preckwinkle has "told Republicans on the board she's going to raise taxes next year," which Preckwinkle's spokesman denied. Republicans have four seats on the Democrat-controlled 17-member board.
"Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has never told commissioners to expect a tax increase in fiscal year 2020," said spokeswoman Becky Schlikerman. "The president is focused on the fiscal year 2019 budget, which is still undergoing public review. The fiscal year 2019 budget is balanced without the need for any new taxes, fines or fees."
Schneider came under fire recently when the Illinois Republican Party sent out a mailer depicting Kevin Morrison as a puppet of Madigan.
Morrison, who is gay, and gay rights advocates said the mailer depicted the Democrat in stereotypical poses with a limp wrist and tiptoes.
Schneider said the image only was intended to tie his opponent to Madigan's policies, but Morrison sought an apology. "He would have been the last eyes on the mailer, and it was in poor judgment."
"I'm not a homophobe or a bigot, and it's repulsive that anyone would think that," Schneider said.
District 15 covers all or parts of communities like Barrington, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Elk Grove Village, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Streamwood.