Casten again leads Newman and rest in 6th Congressional District fundraising

With Illinois' primary election less than three months away, Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove continues to raise - and spend - far more than his chief challenger for his party's nomination in the 6th District, U.S. Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange, new documents show.

The Casten campaign collected more than $787,400 in donations and spent about $352,137 during the year's first quarter, finishing March with more than $2 million in the bank.

The Newman campaign spent more in the first quarter than it collected, with $231,617 coming in and more than $248,622 going out, its report showed. Team Newman ended the quarter with $552,510 saved.

Of the six candidates running for the Republican nomination in the 6th, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso led the first-quarter fundraising race, with $350,486 coming in. Grasso finished the quarter with far more cash than any other Republican, too.

Congressional candidates must file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once their campaigns collect or spend at least $5,000.

First-quarter reports covering Jan. 1 through March 31 were due Friday night. They can be viewed at

The newly redrawn 6th District includes much of the West and Southwest suburbs in Cook and DuPage counties.

Newman currently serves the 3rd District, where she has lived. But she's running in the 6th after last year's district remap put her in the Hispanic-heavy 4th District with Democratic incumbent Jesus "Chuy" Garcia of Chicago.

Congressional representatives don't need to live in the districts they serve. Newman's home is near the 6th District line.

The Democrats

The Casten for Congress committee started 2022 with nearly $1.6 million saved.

About $650,605 of the donations it received last quarter came from individuals, while $125,575 came from political action committees representing special interest groups.

A member of the House financial services committee, Casten reported receiving at least $44,000 from companies in or representing the insurance and banking industries, including:

• Allstate Insurance Co., which gave $3,000.

• Citigroup, which gave $2,000.

• Discover Financial Services, which gave $8,000.

Casten serves on committees dealing with technology and the climate crisis, too. Other Casten supporters included Google, which gave $1,000, and NextEra Energy, which gave $2,000.

Team Casten's quarterly expenses included payments for payroll, fundraising services and polling. Additionally, the campaign reported about $75,694 in outstanding debt to the candidate.

The Marie Newman for Congress committee started last quarter with about $573,120 saved.

About $208,602 of the donations it received last quarter came from individuals, while $22,400 came from political action committees including those representing:

• Illinois Politically Active Letter Carriers, which gave $4,000.

• The National Education Association, which gave $1,000.

• A group promoting Medicare for everyone, which gave $5,000.

The Newman committee reported no donations from corporate interests, which she has refused to accept. Newman serves on the House committee dealing with small business, as well as one regarding transportation and infrastructure.

Newman's quarterly expenses included four payments totaling $24,500 to Iymen Chehade, a campaign staffer now running for her 3rd District seat. He has claimed he didn't run against Newman in 2020 because she promised him a job.

The Office of Congressional Ethics concluded Newman may have violated federal law in the matter. Newman's lawyer acknowledged that her contract with Chehade violated House employment and federal contracting rules.

The House Ethics Committee has said it will investigate.

Newman's report also showed $9,000 in payments last quarter and more than $88,876 in debt to her lawyers in the case.

The Newman campaign ended the quarter with $99,519 in debts to vendors.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination is Charles Hughes of Chicago, who unsuccessfully ran in the 3rd District two years ago. The People for Charles Hughes committee submitted an incomplete financial report indicating it had about $600 at the quarter's end.

The Republicans

Grasso's committee started fundraising this quarter and ended the period with $309,598 saved after expenses.

Notable donations to the Grasso campaign included: $10,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150; $5,800 from former U.S. Attorney Dan K. Webb and Webb's wife; and $5,800 from Illinois video gambling company Gold Rush Amusements' owner Alisa Heidner and her husband, Rick.

Team Grasso also reported $100,000 in debts to the candidate.

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau's congressional committee started the quarter with $110,262 and finished with $170,092 after receipts and expenses. It reported no debts.

Oak Lawn resident Rob Cruz's committee started the quarter with $33,420 and finished with $33,853 saved. Its receipts included $9,440 worth of in-kind donations from Cruz. Team Cruz also reported $34,253 in debts, much of it to the candidate.

Orland Park resident Scott Kaspar's committee started fundraising this quarter. His committee finished the period with more than $25,727 in the bank. Notable donations included: $10,000 from gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine and one of his sons; $2,000 from former Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman; and $1,750 from John R. Damas of the Cubby Bear in Chicago.

Kaspar's campaign also reported more than $144,251 in debts to the candidate.

Glen Ellyn resident Niki Conforti's committee started the quarter with $9,557 and finished with $9.371 saved. It reported owing a consultant $5,000.

One GOP candidate, Catherine A. O'Shea of Oak Lawn, didn't file a quarterly report.

The primary election is June 28. The general election is Nov. 8.

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Upper from left, Niki Conforti, Rob Cruz, Gary Grasso; lower from left, Scott Kaspar, Catherine A. O'Shea and Keith Pekau. They are the Republicans running in the 6th Congressional District primary in 2022.
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