By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — To get into this exclusive club, a worthy candidate needs about $300,000 in seed money.
Welcome to the Chicago Alderman Campaign Contribution Society, led by the unquestioned power broker on the council, Ed. Burke of the 14th Ward.
Burke, who is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election, has $8,038,953 in campaign cash on hand, according to an analysis by Aldertrak.
One of the reasons Burke is so well-heeled is that he rarely has to spend any of it.
In the four elections since 2003, Burke has only had token opposition once. That was in 2007, when he still won with 90 percent of the vote. He was first elected to City Council in 1969.
Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward is a distant second, but still cracks seven figures, with an impressive $1,178,045.
Reilly is also running unopposed on Tuesday, but still raised $141,550 in the latest reporting cycle.
Only four other alderman raised more in the latest quarter than Reilly–Walter Burnett, Danny Solis, John Arena and John Pope. All four are in contested elections.
Rounding out the Top 10:
Walter Burnett, 27nd Ward, $518,045
Ray Suarez, 31st Ward, $470,751
Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward, $439,588
Tom Tunney, 44nd Ward, $423,809
Danny Solis, 25th Ward, $349,645
John Pope, 10th Ward, $344,929
Michelle Harris, 8th Ward, $327,325
Patrick O’Connor, 40th Ward, $296,209
The “poorest” incumbent alderman is Natashia Holmes, of the 7th Ward, with $12,609 cash on hand. At least two other opponents have raised more, but Holmes enjoys the endorsement of Rahm Emanuel.
Last week, Holmes received support in the form of $9,595 for “political communications,” from Emanuel’s political action committee, Chicago Forward.
That is in addition to the $27,000 Chicago Forward sent in early February and late January for similar services, provided by AMS Communications, Ind. Donations from political action committees cannot be sent directly to a candidate.
The nature of the “communication” is not clear in the reports, but AMS Communications, is a small San Francisco-based publishing company.
Aldertrak started as a side project in 2007 by Jimm Dispensa. The site aggregates political data from a variety of sources. Deeper analysis and data are available for a $10 subscription.