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If you live in Cook County & care about crime...

If you liked Kim Foxx then you should vote for Clayton. He's an academic who's never tried a single case and was placed atop the Dem machine-sponsored ballot by none other than Boss Preckwinkle who installed Foxx and Mayor Brandon.

On the other hand, if you want a qualified leader who was a successful appellate judge and will help bring some law/order to our City consider voting for Burke. Honestly, she's terrific. I'm a big fan.

With conservative donor help, O’Neill Burke widens fundraising lead in Cook County state’s attorney primary

Eileen O’Neill Burke, who faces Clayton Harris III in the Democratic primary, has received hundreds of thousands from conservatives.

By Chip Mitchell | WBEZ and Patrick Smith | WBEZ Mar 1, 2024, 3:02pm

Conservative donors in finance are supplying six-figure political donations to Cook County state’s attorney candidate Eileen O’Neill Burke, helping her open a gaping lead in fundraising for the March 19 Democratic primary.

By Friday, with a little more than two weeks before balloting ends, O’Neill Burke had reported nearly $1.92 million in donations, more than twice the $750,000 reported by her opponent, university lecturer Clayton Harris III, who won the Cook County Democratic endorsement.

O’Neill Burke, a former Illinois appellate judge, on Thursday night reported $236,200 from frequent Republican donor Daniel O’Keefe, who helps lead the investment management firm Artisan Partners, raising his family’s total for her to $250,000.

O’Neill Burke reported another $175,000 from Gerald Beeson and Matthew Simon, executives of Citadel LLC, a hedge fund founded by billionaire GOP donor Ken Griffin, lifting to $195,700 the total from their families to her. Beeson, like Griffin, has funded numerous Republican campaigns. Simon in January contributed $200,000 to Paul Vallas’s unsuccessful Chicago mayoral campaign.

The lopsided warchests could provide O’Neill Burke a “shock and awe” advantage, allowing her to dominate the airwaves, social media feeds and other outlets and overwhelm undecided voters with her message, said John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

“It’s just sort of human nature, when … one candidate is out with ads and messages repeatedly, and the other isn’t, you develop this assumption that the candidate that you’re hearing more from is running an aggressive, confident campaign, and you just tend to maybe gravitate more towards the person with resources than you might otherwise,” Shaw said.

Shaw also said the size of O’Neill Burke’s take could also lead some savvy political players to calculate she has a better shot at winning and back her for that reason.

Other $100,000 contributions to O’Neill Burke in recent days have come from frequent Republican donor Donald R. Wilson, Jr., who founded the trading firm DRW, and investor Craig Duchossois. Wilson’s total for O’Neill Burke is now $106,900. Duchossois family money for her now totals $113,800.

Donations to O’Neill Burke from investors and finance interests now total at least $803,300, nearly half what she has reported in all.

O’Neill Burke in recent days also accepted $50,000 from Rodrigo D’Escoto. Companies owned by D’Escoto and his brother Federico were paid millions of Illinois taxpayer dollars by a charter school network that was part of the politically connected United Neighborhood Organization, whose No. 2 executive was their brother Miguel. A resulting scandal forced Miguel D’Escoto to resign and led the network to split from UNO.

Harris in recent days has reported a $50,000 donation from frequent Democratic donor Fred Eychaner, raising his total for the candidate to $56,900. Another $25,000 came from personal injury attorney Robert Clifford, lifting Harris’s total from Clifford’s firm to at least $44,700.

As of Friday, Harris also led O’Neill Burke in donations from unions, most recently $20,000 from SEIU Healthcare of Illinois and Indiana and $15,000 from the Chicago Teachers Union, increasing CTU’s total for him to $25,000.

Shaw said the funding disparity was not necessarily “fatal” to Harris and predicted the lesser-funded candidate would try to turn O’Neill Burke’s haul against her.

On Friday afternoon, Harris did just that. “Eileen Burke’s campaign is being bankrolled by dangerous, right-wing donors — the same people who fund Donald Trump, Dr. Oz, Kelly Loeffler and worse,” Harris said in a written statement. “As we stare down the barrel of a potential second Trump administration, the last thing we need are local leaders who are beholden to extremists who don’t share our values.”

But O’Neill Burke’s campaign, asked what the conservative backing says about her candidacy, answered in a statement she is “proud to have a diverse coalition of supporters that includes the working women and men [of] organized labor, leaders from the legal and pro-choice communities, and everyday families who want a safer, more just Cook County.”

“We’re excited by the growing momentum behind her unmatched experience and vision,” the statement said.

Contributions and loans by O’Neill Burke’s own family now exceed $100,000, which means the race’s contribution caps are lifted for all candidates.

The race’s financing so far remains a fraction of what the top Democrats raised in the 2020 state’s attorney primary, when challenger Bill Conway received periodic six- and seven-figure infusions from his father, investor William E. Conway Jr., while Foxx’s reelection bid netted steady support from the party’s establishment and $2 million a few weeks before Election Day from a super PAC connected to New York billionaire George Soros.

Chip Mitchell reports on policing, public safety and public health.

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