(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.