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Illinois Politics

Mayor Emanuel, Speaker Madigan, Fund-Raising Boost Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s Election Campaign against Paula Basta

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the lawmaker's Nov. 16 fund-raiser.

(Chicago, IL) – November 19, 2011. In a significant boost to Chicago Democratic State Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s election chances, Chicago’s newly minted mayor and the state’s powerful House Speaker have rolled out their backing for the first-term North Side lawmaker.

Cassidy, who was appointed to the seat following ex-State Rep. Harry Osterman’s election as 48th Ward Alderman in the spring, hosted a fund-raiser on Wednesday—chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago). Emanuel appeared at the event.

“While I’m honored and humbled to have the support of the Speaker of the House and the Mayor of Chicago,” said Cassidy. “what is really driving this campaign is the grassroot support from my neighbors and the community of the 14th district.”

The official backing by both Emanuel and Madigan, as well as a strong fund-raising effort during the summer and early fall, will likely extinguish murmurs of concern expressed earlier in the summer by political observers that Cassidy’s campaign was lagging behind her likely primary opponent, Paula Basta, a lesbian activist.

In the three-month reporting period between July and September, Cassidy hauled in $75,265,000. Basta raised $6,486.

Cassidy’s key donors included the lakefront’s top political forces. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5) dropped $5,000 into her war chest; 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney gave $2,500; Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) chipped in, $1,000; and Equality Illinois, $1,000.

Cassidy spent $25,155.48 and ended the period with $50,209.52 on hand. Basta spent $21,398.76 and had $78,627.24 remaining. With a ramped-up fund-raising effort, the incumbent’s cash pile will likely surpass Basta’s as the campaign advances.

“We have over 300 donors and hundreds of volunteers who make this campaign what it really is,” said Cassidy.

A long-time human rights activist and a mother of three with her partner Kelly Quinn, Cassidy, who is the second openly lesbian lawmaker in Springfield along with State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), has also piled-up a bulging list of endorsement from long-time, gay and lesbian political leaders and key human rights groups.

“As we struggle to keep our neighborhoods vibrant and growing, two of the biggest issues families face, education and public safety, are at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts,” said Cassidy backer State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). “Kelly brings an important perspective to the state legislature as a mom and a former public safety professional.”

In addition to Harris, Cassidy’s gay and lesbian backers included: Mell, 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, Water District Commissioner Deb Shore, Michael Bauer, Roger Simon, Richard Thale, Dalila Fridi, Rick Garcia, Vernita Gray, Pat Ewert, Art Johnston, Jackie Kaplan-Perkins, Marcia Lipetz, Lynda Crawford, Jacob Meister, Mary Morten, Willa Taylor Brandon Neese, David Wick, Janna Lombardo, Jeremy Gottschalk, Laura Ricketts, Jim Bennett, Jon Erickson, David Egeland, Grant Kauffman,  Tressa Feher, Jonathan Pizer, Brad Lippitz, Earl Perlow, Fred Eychaner, Michael Forti, Robert Kohl,  Clark Pellet, Cara Meiselman, Debra Ashen, Stephanie Miller, David Munar, Phil Palmer, John Peller, Renee Ruffing, Coco Soodek, Mary Trew, Kate Wellborn, The Civil Rights Agenda, and Equality Illinois.

And the backstops–the Mayor and the Speaker.

The primary is March 12, 2012.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


4 Responses to “Mayor Emanuel, Speaker Madigan, Fund-Raising Boost Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s Election Campaign against Paula Basta”

  1. Kelly Cassidy does not have a college degree. If she tried to get a job in the private sector she would not be granted an interview let alone given a job. Why shouldn’t we hold our public officials to the same standard that we are held to in the private sector? She gets paid a nice salary and will get a pension. Nice work for a high school graduate. I wish I was that lucky. With no education, will she fight for our children’s education in Springfield. Let’s hold our politicians to the same standard as the private sector. Vote for Paula Basta, the Democrat who has a Masters Degree.

    Posted by Beverly | November 20, 2011, 9:47 PM
  2. Beverly,

    President Abraham Lincoln had no college degree. President George W. Bush earned a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University.

    Thank you for reading.

    David Ormsby

    Posted by David Ormsby | November 21, 2011, 9:41 AM
  3. David,
    In 1861 we weren’t telling our children to go to college and take out large amounts of debt because without it you can not find decent paying work. Would Ms. Cassidy encourage her children to go to college or say to them you don’t need to cause you may get a $100k/year job without it like mommy? Getting a college degree also builds character. It takes hard work and commitment and we should applaud and reward our college grads. Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, Kennedy from Harvard and Obama Harvard Law School.

    David, you surprised me. I thought you would be a champion of education.

    Posted by Beverly | November 21, 2011, 5:20 PM
  4. Beverly,

    I am a champion of education. But I am also a champion of democracy. The qualifications to serve in the Illinois General Assembly or the U.S. Congress do not include a college degree. Elected office should be open to as many as possible and all should be encouraged to participate and present themselves. GRE and GMAT test scores are not necessarily ideal indicators strong and wise leaders. Mr. Bush’s Yale and Harvard degrees yielded little value to him in his 8 years in office.

    In 1994, the last time I reviewed the data, 1/3rd of the state legislature had no college degree. In fact, 76% of Illinois adults possess no college degree. Unfurling an elitist banner is unhelpful to a candidate looking to win the hearts and minds of the majority of voters. After 20 years in this business, I’ve learned that a candidate who preens as the smartest person in the room rubs voters the wrong way.

    Thank you for writing, Bev.


    Posted by David Ormsby | November 23, 2011, 9:56 AM

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