Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top Judicial Races for Next Week's Primary Election

ICPR's website has updated fundraising totals for the US Senate, Illinois Governor, and Cook County Board President candidates. For the Democrats, Pat Quinn reported big receipts since Tuesday, showing $250K from SEIU and another $50K from another of Chicago Ald. Ed Burke's committees. How odd that the lifelong reformer now relies so heavily on the Regular Chicago Democrats and Rod Blagojevich's biggest campaign contributor. Hynes has raised about $250K recently, including $100K each from the laborers and the IFT.

For the Republicans, Kirk Dillard reported another $100K, including another $50K from Ron Gidwitz and $25K from the Operating Engineers. Dan Proft also had a $50K check from Richard Uihlein, who has been popping up a lot in the disclosure reports this year. The head of Uline Industries gave $50K to Matt Murphy last summer and $5K to another Republican seeking the nomination, Andy McKenna, though the $95K he's given to Proft is the bulk of his recent giving.

Judicial races aren't getting much press attention this year and it's a shame, because there's some big fundraising in several. There are five Appellate Court seats on the ballot, all in northern Illinois or Cook County. Here are the top races:

The race for the Democratic nomination for First District (Cook County) McNulty Vacancy race shows $632,115 in total receipts among 6 candidates, though Jim Epstein has the lion's share of that, with $516,432. A Democrat named Jim Ryan reports $56,526, while Arnette Hubbard reports $50,251, No one else has five figures. Epstein has dozens of donors in the 4-and 5-figure range, but his biggest supporter is himself, at $260,000 in loans this calendar year.

The race for the Republican nomination in the Second District Callum Vacancy race shows $509,119 between two candidates. While not evenly matched, both candidates here have significant fundraising. Ann Jorgensen reports $404,119 in total; most of that, $284,245.21 -- came in a single donation from the Ann Teresa Brackley Trust (Ann Jorgensen's middle name is Brackley). The other candidate, Kenneth Moy, reports $105,000, all from himself, all in the last six weeks.

The race for the Republican nomination in the other Second District seat -- the Gilleran Johnson Vacancy -- shows the third-highest fundraising total for appellate court seats at $454,830. Mary Schostok reports $425,472, while the only other candidate, Donna Kelly, reports $29,357. Schostok's biggest supporter is her husband, Michael Schostok, a lawyer who has contributed $108,000.

For seats on Illinois' circuit court bench, the top spot goes to the race for the Republican nomination in the 18th Circuit (DuPage County), Kilander Vacancy. Two candidates combine for $258,365. Ron Sutter reports $186,471; he gave $50K to his campaign as did Paul and Dorothy Sutter of Bloomington. Brian McKillip reports $71,894, of which $30,000 came from himself.

In the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination for the Otaka Vacancy in the Cook County 90th Subcircuit, there is $197,761 in combined receipts. Yehuda Lebovitz leads the fundraising with about half that total -- $97,604. Most of that figure -- $68K -- came from another PAC formed to support an earlier Lebovitz bid for the bench; that PAC, in turn, raised most of its money from the candidate. Abbey Romanek reports $45,652, nearly all from herself. Geary Kull reports $42,290. He's his largest contributor but, at $5K; he's also the smallest self-funder in the race. Dennis Fleming is fourth in the fundraising at $12,215.

Third highest is the contest for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Circuit in east-central Illinois for the Cini Vacancy. Matt Sullivan reports $64,200, while Frank Young shows $51,250 and Brian Bower reports $32,250. Eric James Neumann has yet to form a committee.

Fourth highest is for the Democratic nomination for the Vandersnick vacancy in the 14th Circuit in the Quad Cities area. Three candidates combine for $136,489. Clarence Darrow leads in fundraising, showing $68,835, including $36,269 from various Darrows. Trish Joyce shows $53,155, including $28,000 from herself. Maritia Griffith has $14,500, nearly all from Ronald Griffith.

Fifth highest fundraising is in another seat in Cook County's 9th Subcircuit -- this one for the A Vacancy. Six candidates combine for $127,042. Evanstonian Steven Bernstein leads the group with $79,461, which includes $25K of his own money. Previous legislative candidate Michael Ian Bender comes in second place with $33,456, none of it his and no more than a few thousand from any one donor. No other candidate has five figures.

Later this week -- legislative race totals and more.

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