The Illinois State Board of Elections reports that petitions have been filed for the following candidates for Illinois State Senate in the 8th District :
All the candidates are Democrats who live in Chicago.
The next phase of the elections process is for opponents to file objections to these petitions; these must be filed no later than Monday, December 11. If no objection is filed to a candidate’s nomination papers, the papers are presumed to be valid.
I checked each candidate’s reported campaign funds this morning and learned the following:
Ira Silverstein (Silverstein for Senator) has $89,169.57 on hand. He received $9,200 of that in November, including $1,200 from the Realtor PAC; $1,000 from the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association; and $7,000 from the Chicago Land Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC. His October contributions were from lobbying groups (SEIU, AFSCME, and PhRma) and brought in another $5,000.
Ram Villivalam (Friends of Ram) has raised $40,535, all of it between November 7-11, 2017, including $5,600 from himself. Another $5,600 came from his wife, Elizabeth Granato, identified on her November 7 contribution as the Manager of Business Development for the Public Building Commission of Chicago.
Interestingly, there are numerous small donations reported to other political groups, mainly the Indo-American Democratic Organization, from an individual named Ramachandra Villivalam who lives (or lived) in Naperville. This is the name under which Ram Villivalam was employed when he worked for Brad Schneider. Ramachandra’s Naperville address puts him in the 21st Senatorial District.
Nothing wrong with moving to a district where your political chances are better. Maybe he moved after his recent wedding. However, the Indo-American group reported an expenditure of $466.52 for Ramachandran Villivalam for a “mailing” on September 28, 2017. Since Villivalam is their current president, I would think they know where he lives. This donation-in-kind does not appear on his disclosure to the State Board.
The last thing we need is a repeat of the battles of the 2015 aldermanic election, when one candidate claimed to live in the ward but didn’t.
Caroline McAteer-Fournier (Caroline for Illinois) has not reported any contributions or expenses.
Zehra Quadri (Zehra for Illinois) has not reported any contributions or expenses.
David A. Zulkey (People for Zulkey) has not reported any contributions or expenses.
The lack of funding for the latter three candidates indicates how hard it is for female and independent (i.e., not politically-connected) candidates to acquire the obscene amounts of money now required to be considered credible candidates. Huge campaign war chests are often misinterpreted as proof that a candidate has the backing of the people, when the truth may be simply that the contributions of a few wealthy individuals and groups have bought the race.
We finally have the opportunity for participatory democracy in this State Senate race.
Let’s take it.