CHICAGO — Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a huge money advantage over his rivals in the race for Chicago mayor, financial reports filed Thursday show.
Emanuel started January with $8.3 million on hand, whereas former Chicago schools president Gery Chico had $2 million as of Dec. 31, according to reports the campaigns filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has about $125,000 on hand, her spokeswoman Renee Ferguson said.
The three are among six candidates running to replace retiring Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who didn't seek a seventh term. A fourth major candidate, Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle, had collected about $110,000 in cash and in-kind contributions by the end of the year, his campaign said.
Both the Chico and Braun campaigns downplayed Emanuel's money lead, saying they'll have enough to win the Feb. 22 election. There will be an April runoff unless one candidate gets a majority of the vote.
"We have enough to run a viable and winning campaign and we knew that we would not receive money from insiders who have participated in so many years of pinstripe patronage," Ferguson said. "Carol has never gotten rich off the system but we have people power and we think that will take us a very long way."
Braun, who was chosen by African-American leaders as the black unity candidate, collected about $450,660 between October and the end of the year, Ferguson said.
That's a fraction of the more than $10 million Emanuel had collected by the end of the year. An additional $1.1 million was transferred in from Emanuel's congressional campaign account. Emanuel was a Chicago congressman before he went to work at the White House for President Barack Obama. He quit that job in October to run for mayor.
"Not only do these contributions reflect the strength of our support across Chicago, but they include contributions from business and philanthropic leaders around the country who believe in Rahm's leadership and his vision for the city," his campaign manager Scott Fairchild said in a statement.
Chico reported collecting about $2.5 million through the end of last year, including in-kind contributions like catering and event space. His campaign said it has more than 50 fundraisers scheduled in the coming weeks.
"Gery Chico will have every dollar he needs to compete in this local mayor's race," spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.
Del Valle has long acknowledged he would likely trail in fundraising and even told a Chicago TV reporter he could win the race with less than $1 million.
"We have enough money to get through the 22nd. No one's dropping out. May the best person win," del Valle's campaign manager Bruce Embrey said.