Mayoral hopefuls neck-and-neck on campaign fundraising

I posted a while back that Mayor Jerry Schweighart was leading challenger Don Gerard in the pre-election campaign finance race. He still is, but the candidates have recently filed their required semi-annual campaign finance reports.

So, I figured, there's no better opportunity to take a look at where they are. All of the following information can be found on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

We'll start with the bottom line: Schweighart had $9,175.98 available to him, and Gerard had $2,391.78 in his coffers as of Dec. 31.

To look a little closer: Between July 1 and Dec. 31, Schweighart collected $4,660 in campaign donations. On top of the $6,525.16 that was already in his fund, that left him with more than $11,000 to spend on campaign-related expenses. He spent just over $2,000 -- including $1,000 for Christopher Rory Photography's "photos and web work," and about $650 on a fundraising function at Round Barn in Champaign -- leaving him with the $9,175.98.

Gerard, on the other hand, collected $4,774.75 -- $2,000 of which came from Joe's Brewery in Champaign -- between Sept. 27 (the date his fundraising organization came into existence) and Dec. 31. He had no campaign money prior to that, and he spent $2,382.97, leaving him with $2,391.78. His expenses included mostly promotional items -- buttons, T-shirts, etc. -- with the majority of his expenditures, $1,740.15, going to Ink Tank, a custom screen printing company in Omaha, Neb.

While Schweighart's account is bigger than Gerard's, it looks like Gerard is leading the fundraising since the two candidates began ramping up their campaigns -- but he leads by a statistically negligible amount. Obviously this is a completely different situation, but to put their finances in perspective, Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel raised $11.8 million in the latter half of 2010.

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