Sen. Michael Hastings spent over $400,000 in reelection bid – Chicago Tribune

A fresh series of quarterly campaign finance reports reveal how much cash various elected officials serving the south and southwest suburbs raised and spent during the three months ending Dec. 31.

State Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Frankfort, spent a staggering $401,727 during the quarter and nearly depleted his campaign coffer. Hastings narrowly won reelection in November, besting Republican Patrick Sheehan of Lockport by a margin of 50.6% to 49.4%.

Itemized expenditures indicate Hastings used digital advertising and boots on the ground to eke out his victory. His campaign paid $220,580 to Chicago-based Snyder Pickerill Media Group for TV and digital ads. Dozens of individuals were each paid hundreds of dollars to knock on doors of prospective voters and perform other campaign work.

Hastings reported revenues of $77,831 during the period and ended with a balance of $99,487 after starting the quarter with $427,050 cash on hand. Donors included power companies, utilities, and energy producers and suppliers.

The Senate convenes Tuesday to begin its next legislative session. Senate President Don Harmon told WBEZ he would not reappoint Hastings to chair the influential Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee. Hastings in August resigned a Democratic leadership post amid domestic abuse allegations revealed in divorce court records.

Republican state Rep. Tim Ozinga was rooting for Sheehan in that Senate race. A large sign supporting Sheehan remains visible from Interstate 80 at La Grange Road in Mokena, where the Ozinga concrete and construction materials company is headquartered.

The company poured $1 million into Ozinga’s campaign fund during the quarter. The campaign spent more than $1 million that included $629,350 in transfers to fund for other Republican candidates and organizations throughout the state.

Ozinga gave $25,000 to Mark Curran, a former Lake County sheriff who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in 2020. He gave $2,500 to Thomas DeVore, a firebrand attorney who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general. Ozinga gave $3,500 to the campaign fund of Tinley Park Mayor Michael Glotz.

The Southland’s sole Republican lawmaker donated $266,500 to the Illinois Republican Party, $150,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee IL-PAC, $45,000 to the Senate Republican Victory Fund and more than $300,000 to the Big Tent Coalition, a political organization Ozinga founded to help elect Republicans to public office.

State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, who sponsored the 2019 legislation that expanded gaming with additional casino licenses, took in a staggering amount of contributions from gaming interests during the quarter.

State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, left, listens to testimony during a 2018 hearing at the Bilandic Building in Chicago on proposed expanded gaming in Illinois.

State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, left, listens to testimony during a 2018 hearing at the Bilandic Building in Chicago on proposed expanded gaming in Illinois. (Ted Slowik/Daily Southtown)

Rita hauled in $246,080 in revenues and spent $175,789 to finish the year with a balance of $343,059. Donors included Bolingbrook-based Accell Entertainment Gaming LLC, Las Vegas-based Caesers Entertainment Operating Company, Tinley Park-based Fair Share Gaming LLC.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Churchill Downs, where the annual Kentucky Derby is held, kicked in $5,000 to Rita’s campaign fund. Other contributors were Hoffman Estates-based Gold Rush Amusements and J + J Ventures and Lucy’s Place LLC, both based in Downstate Effingham.

Individuals and companies associated with Rivers Casino in Des Plaines gave Rita $35,000 total during the period. Rivers Casino donated $10,000 and its parent company, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, gave Rita $5,000.

Rush Street Gaming co-founders Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin each gave Rita $5,000. Two other Bluhm family members each gave $5,000 to Rita.

State Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, won reelection in November despite facing federal bribery charges in connection with a red-light camera corruption investigation.

Jones recently paid $40,000 for legal services to Chicago-based Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. That accounted for the bulk of his $43,740 of expenditures during a quarter when he was campaigning to keep his job, though he ran unopposed. Jones raised $27,300 and finished the year with $170,897 in the bank.

Democratic state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, who also is mayor of Calumet City, reported $53,277 in revenues and $56,017 in expenses to finish with a balance of $38,499 at year’s end in one of his three campaign funds.

His largest donations were $5,000 from Norman Taplin and another $5,000 from Taplin’s legal firm, Norman E. Taplin and Associates, based in West Palm Beach, Florida. The firm concentrates practice in regulatory insurance, administrative law, corporate and commercial law and financial services, according to its website.

Jones, who has chaired the House Insurance Committee, spent money during the quarter on meals, lodging, airfare and other expenses related to attending a National Association of Insurance Commissioners Conference in Tampa, Florida and a National Council of Insurance Legislators annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

State Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, reported revenues of $67,150 and expenses of $82,712 on his way to finishing the year with $854,481 cash on hand. DeLuca won another term representing the 80th District with 57% of the vote over Republican Al Kuypers in November.

Ted Slowik is a columnist for the Daily Southtown.

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January 20, 2023 at 05:41PM

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