The mayoral race in Des Plaines is shaping up to be costly

  • From left, Michael Charewicz, Malcolm Chester and Andrew Goczkowski are running for Des Plaines mayor.

    From left, Michael Charewicz, Malcolm Chester and Andrew Goczkowski are running for Des Plaines mayor.

 
 
Updated 3/26/2021 6:29 PM

The race for the mayor's chair in Des Plaines is shaping up to be costly.

Candidate Malcolm Chester has sunk $20,000 of his own cash into his campaign, state financial disclosure reports revealed.

 

Another candidate, Andrew Goczkowski, has received thousands in donations from different sources, including labor unions and the campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, in whose office he works.

On the other hand, the third candidate in the race, Michael Charewicz, has reported no fundraising so far.

Chester, Goczkowski and Charewicz will face off in the April 6 consolidated local election. Early voting is underway.

Incumbent Mayor Matthew Bogusz can't run again because Des Plaines enforces term limits.

Candidates for local, county or state offices who raise or spend at least $5,000 must file quarterly financial disclosure reports with the Illinois State Board of Elections. They must also file individual reports for donations of $1,000 or more as they come in.

Reports are viewable online at elections.il.gov.

Chester is the city's 6th Ward alderman, having first been elected in 2015. An attorney by trade, he unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2017.

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The Citizens for Malcolm Chester campaign committee's most recent quarterly report, covering activity from the final three months of 2020, showed no donations during that period and $30 in unspecified expenses.

It also revealed $21,000 in outstanding debt to Chester dating back to 2017.

However, on Jan. 25, Chester gave the campaign $20,000, a later disclosure report revealed.

When asked about his campaign fundraising strategy, Chester said he is "largely self funding." He didn't comment further.

Goczkowski has been the 8th Ward alderman since 2019. Professionally, he's a grant coordinator for Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As of Friday, the Friends of Andrew Goczkowski campaign has reported receiving $13,050 in donations of $1,000 or more this year. They include:

• $1,000 from Schakowsky for Congress.

• $2,500 from Schneider for Congress, the campaign committee for Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield.

• $2,500 from the Chicago Laborers' District Council.

• $1,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Goczkowski said he's established strong relationships with local labor unions and worked closely with local political leaders in his time on Schakowsky's staff.

"These leaders have gotten to know me personally, and they know that I have the vision and the work ethic needed to move Des Plaines forward," he said.

Goczkowski said he's also relying on "a grass-roots network of family, friends, supportive neighbors, and organizations that share my values" for financial backing.

The committee also has nearly $1,000 in debts to Goczkowski dating back to 2019, documents revealed.

Charewicz is a former 8th Ward alderman, serving from 2011 to 2019. He formed the Citizens to Elect Mike Charewicz committee this past January and hasn't filed any financial disclosure reports.

Charewicz, who owns a local auto repair shop, said he is primarily self-funding his campaign but has accepted some donations, in the $200 to $300 range.

He knows his rivals -- particularly Goczkowski -- have more campaign cash to spend but said he's doing his best "to keep Washington and Springfield out of the mayor's office."

Rather than spending a lot of money on flyers and campaign staff, Charewicz said he's personally knocking on doors to meet voters. Acknowledging his underdog status with some biblical symbolism, he called his bid a "David and Goliath" campaign.

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