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The two candidates for La Salle County state’s attorney got off to a slow start in their 2020 fundraising, thanks to the pandemic. They’ve since made up for lost time.
Incumbent Republican Karen Donnelly raised nearly $19,000 in the third quarter and Democratic challenger Todd Martin raised more than $28,000 over the same period. That’s a marked reversal from the earlier filings when Donnelly reported only self-funding while Martin reported a small handful of donors.
In the reporting period ending Sept. 30, Donnelly reported $11,000 in individual contributions led by $5,000 from George Mueller, her retiring first assistant. She accepted contributions from the campaign funds of three sitting GOP lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon), state Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) and state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) totaling $7,500.
Donnelly reported cash on-hand of about $5,100 at the close of the reporting period.
“Campaigns cost money and I appreciate the help people have given me,” Donnelly said in a statement. “As everyone knows, I am pretty low-key about fundraising, especially in a time of economic uncertainty due to COVID.”
Martin did not report any transfers from Democratic officeholders but otherwise outdrew Donnelly in individual donors. Notable among these were labor unions and Ottawa Mayor Dan Aussem, who chafed at Donnelly suing his city, among others, in an attempt to recover more than $573,000 in assets seized by the disbanded SAFE Team.
Martin also had broader support from the defense bar. His donors include La Salle County law firms and defense attorneys including David Kaleel of Mendota, Public Defender Tim Cappellini, Ed Kuleck of Ottawa, John Fisher of Peru as well as a longtime Republican, La Salle attorney Gary Gearhart.
“Much like the Shaw Media Editorial Board after their inquiry, attorneys I have worked with or against recognize my abilities and experience,” Martin said. “As La Salle County taxpayers, these attorneys want their tax dollars protected from unnecessary and unsuccessful litigation. They are tired of seeing personal vendettas play out in the state’s attorney’s office.”
Donnelly had a different take on why attorneys supported her opponent.
“Martin’s contributors look like the same group that supported Brian Towne's campaign,” Donnelly said. “Draw your own conclusions as to what that means.”
Martin closed out the reporting period with about $26,000 in cash on-hand.