Election

Casten continues to lead in 6th Congressional District fundraising

As the primary races for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District seat approach the finish line, incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove has been raising and spending far more than either of the other Democratic challengers for his job, federal documents show.

The latest finance reports were filed before Casten’s 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, died unexpectedly last week.

After that tragedy, Casten temporarily put his TV advertising on hold and withdrew from the public eye to mourn with his family. Casten’s campaign advertising has since resumed, spokesman Jacob Vurpillat said Monday, but he’s not yet making public appearances.

“[We’re] just taking it one day at a time right now,” Vurpillat said.

Congressional campaigns must file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission once they collect or spend at least $5,000.

The latest scheduled reports, detailing preprimary fundraising and spending between April 1 and June 8, were due last week. This close to an election, candidates also file reports identifying contributions of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving the donation.

The reports can be viewed at fec.gov.

Casten’s chief opponent in the June 28 Democratic primary is U.S. Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange, who now serves the 3rd District but opted to run in the 6th after district boundaries changed. Also running is Nicor Gas operation mechanic Charles Hughes of Chicago.

The Casten for Congress committee started April with more than $2 million saved and collected about $492,578 during the period.

About $419,351 came from individuals and $71,302 came from political action committees representing special interests. They included:

• Aflac, which gave $2,000.

• Exelon Corp., ComEd’s parent company, which gave $1,500.

• A group affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which gave $2,500.

After spending about $1.6 million on advertising, polling and other expenses, Casten’s campaign finished the period with about $886,308 in the bank and $75,694 in debt to the candidate.

Casten subsequently received an additional $27,971, 48-hour reports filed through Monday showed.

The Marie Newman for Congress committee started April with about $552,510 saved, and received more than $235,116 during the period.

Of that money, $220,698 came from individuals and $14,275 came from political action committees, including those representing:

• The National Organization for Women, which gave $2,500.

• The Communications Workers of America, which gave $2,500.

• A pro-Palestinian group called JVP Action, or Jewish Voice for Peace, which gave $775.

The Newman committee reported no donations from corporate interests, which she has refused to accept.

Newman spent more than $384,484 on advertising, staff salaries and other expenses during the period.

Among those salary related payments was $17,000 to Iymen Chehade, a campaign staffer now running for her 3rd District seat. He had sued Newman and claimed she tried to discourage him from running against her in 2020 by promising him a job.

The Office of Congressional Ethics said Newman may have broken federal law; the House Ethics Committee is investigating.

The Newman campaign ended the period with about $394,248 saved and about $83,770 in debts.

The Newman campaign subsequently received an additional $20,700, available 48-hour reports showed.

The People for Charles Hughes committee started April with $429 in the bank and reported receiving $3,990 from the candidate. It spent nearly $4,418, most of it on advertising, and finished with about one dollar saved.

The newly redrawn 6th District includes much of the west and southwest suburbs in Cook and DuPage counties.

The Republican candidates are Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn, Rob Cruz of Oak Lawn, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, Scott Kaspar of Orland Park, Oak Lawn resident Catherine A. O’Shea and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.