Money key to 29th and 37th Ward runoffs

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By Michael Romain

Editor

Nine of the top ten aldermen who have received the most money from the pro-Emanuel fundraising committee Chicago Forward have been forced into runoffs—including Aldermen Deborah Graham (29th) and Emma Mitts (37th). Both incumbents garnered less than the 50 percent plus one threshold required for an outright victory.

Graham, who received more than $60,000 from Chicago Forward--the most of any incumbent alderman according to DNAinfo--garnered 40 percent of the vote in a field of eight candidates. She'll face police officer and attorney Chris Taliaferro, who garnered about 23 percent of the vote, in April. 

Graham has raised more than ten times the money that Taliaferro has in the runup to Feb. 24 and she'll need to use a significant portion of it if she hopes to stave off the 60 percent of voters who punched a number other than hers.

According to WBEZ's Chicago Campaign Finance Explorer, which organizes campaign funding data that candidates are required to report to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Graham raised more than $231,000 this election cycle. Taliaferro has raised about $23,000.

Graham's biggest campaign contributors included For a Better Chicago PAC ($47,398.28); AFSCME Illinois Council No. 31 Pac ($46,600.00); Friends of Don Harmon ($36,975.95); Friends of Michael J. Madigan ($36,167.38); and Friends of Don Harmon ($25,765.44).

Top donors for Taliaferro, who has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) and several prominent area clergymen, included himself ($10,250), Citizens for Davis ($8,500); Friends of Barbara McGowan ($2,500); Infrastructure Engineering ($1,000) and Richard Topps ($500). 

Emma Mitts received the ninth highest amount of money among incumbent aldermen from Chicago Forward, with more than $36,000. Mitts, who was polling at 55 percent days before the election, received about 49 percent of the vote in the 37th Ward, with about 32 percent going to her CTU-backed opponent Tara Stamps. 

Stamps, who has the most formidable fundraising advantage among challengers in both the 29th and 37th Wards, nonetheless had much less cash on hand near the end of the race than Mitts. Mitts has raised more than $129,000 this election cycle, while Stamps has raised about $98,000.

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com 

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