PORTAGE PARK — Ald. Nicholas Sposato has a huge financial advantage over the six other candidates running to replace retiring 38th Ward Ald. Tim Cullerton, according to state campaign finance records.
As the campaign begins the homestretch before voters go to the polls on Feb. 24, unions have contributed more than $82,000 of the $103,000 Sposato's campaign has raised since Jan. 1, far more than what any other candidate in the race to represent Portage Park and Dunning has managed to raise.
That's on top of the $44,000 Sposato, a firefighter who was elected to the council to represent the 36th Ward in 2011, raised between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. He started 2015 with nearly $98,000 on hand, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
But since then, Sposato got $62,000 from Service Employee International Union and $15,000 from the Chicago Teachers Union. Both of have endorsed Sposato, who helped found the Progressive Reform Caucus.
SEIU's donations came from three different political action committees between Jan. 15 and Feb. 7, records show.
CTU also gave Sposato $7,500 in December, records show.
Meanwhile, a Feb. 2 poll conducted by Ogden & Fry for Aldertrack found Sposato has a "huge lead" with more than 46 percent of the vote.
With 23 percent of voters undecided, the poll concluded that Sposato has a "good chance" of winning re-election outright.
If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote on Feb. 24, the top two vote-getters will square off in a runoff on April 7.
This election will be the the first under a new City Council map that moved most of Dunning — including Sposato's house — from the 36th Ward into the 38th Ward along with Portage Park.
Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Sattler took in approximately $35,000 and started 2015 with nearly $16,500 on hand, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
On Feb. 5, Sattler got $5,000 from the campaign account of Metropolitan Water District Commissioner Michael Alvarez, who is also a registered lobbyist at City Hall.
The Aldertrack poll put Sattler in third place with approximately 7 percent of the vote behind Cook County Forest Preserve Police Sgt. Jerry Paszek who won about 8.5 percent, well within the margin of error of the poll of likely voters.
Paszek started 2015 with about $6,500 on hand. On Feb. 6, he contributed $10,000 to his own campaign, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Tom Caravette, a property manager and real estate agent, who lost to Cullerton in the runoff that decided the 2011 election, gave his campaign $3,500 on Jan. 2, the only money his campaign has collected, records show.
City Council legislative aide Belinda Cadiz formed a campaign committee on Jan. 26, but has not yet reported any contributions, records show.
Carmen Hernandez, a city water department investigator, has not formed a campaign committee to collect contributions, records show.
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