Back of the Yards is part of Cook County's 7th District, and the race for commissioner heated up over the weekend, with Mark Brown's Sun Times column revealing incumbent Joseph Mario Moreno is skirting campaign finance law. A drug company with a county contract contributed $25,000 to the political action committee that hosted a fundraising dinner for Moreno. By law, county contractors can contribute no more than $1500 to candidates for county commissioner. But a PAC can contribute an unlimited amount to a candidate. This is known as "soft money."
What this story says to me is Moreno fears his challenger, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, enough to go after some big bucks to defend himself. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to have made him run scared enough to get some boots on the ground--while Garcia's people have been out and about doorknocking in the neighborhood, I haven't heard a peep from Moreno people. Their only evidence of existence is the signs in the businesses along 47th and down Ashland--they did a good job of getting their signs out.
However, it looks like Garcia has done a better job of gathering endorsements. Read the Trib's glowing praise for him here. And check out the list of other endorses at his web site. I've only received one piece of mail from the Moreno side so far. Instead of official endorsements, it contained photos and a set of quotations about Moreno from a variety of local leaders, including Craig Chico of Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council and Fr. Bruce Wellems of Holy Cross/IHM. Thing is, you can't really tell if they were endorsing Moreno's candidacy or if they were just saying in effect, oh yeah, he's a nice guy. I'd like to know how that mailer got put together.
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