News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet mayoral race heating up, financially speaking

D’Arcy fundraiser on Tuesday will try to keep up with O’Dekirk $225,000-plus campaign fund

The Joliet mayoral race is looking like an expensive one with the two main candidates well into six figures in fundraising already.

Challenger Terry D’Arcy has a $250-a-ticket fundraiser next week, and he’s got some catching up to do to match the money held by Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

O’Dekirk had $225,000 in his campaign chest at the end of June, and that number would have been boosted by an August fundraiser.

Meanwhile, a third potential candidate, Gregory Lee, took out petitions to run for mayor this week. It is not clear who Lee is, and he’ll have some work to do to get attention as D’Arcy and O’Dekirk spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to win votes.

The D’Arcy fundraiser is Tuesday at his home in the Wooded Creek subdivision.

Those who go can spend $250 a ticket for the two-hour event. Or, they can be a recognized sponsor for a donations to the campaign of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000.

There already have been at least 10 sponsors based on a campaign disclosure filed Thursday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, which listed campaign contributions in amounts of $1,000 and $5,000.

D’Arcy, a car dealer and a leading philanthropist to Joliet organizations, said he plans to have less pricy fundraisers. But this one was presented to him by supporters of his campaign.

“It was a group of local business people and friends that wanted to support me and have a fundraiser, and I said I will host it,” he said. “I’m not trying to break the bank and raise a lot of money.”

But D’Arcy said he will need money. He pointed to O’Dekirk’s $225,000 campaign fund listed at the end of June as a likely spending target for the race for mayor.

Based on filings with the State Board of Election, D’Arcy so far has raised $142,000.

O’Dekirk undoubtedly has more than $225,000 now, although the June 30 listing is the latest listed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

“I do a golf outing,” O’Dekirk said. “I did that back in August.”

O’Dekirk on Thursday said he did not have a figure for how much the outing adding to his campaign.

“It was significant,” he said. “I always get a lot of support.”

Even without the outing, O’Dekirk has significant financial support.

Among contributions listed in 2021, was $10,000 from East Gate Logistics, one of the corporate names used by NorthPoint Development, which is building the controversial Third Coast Intermodal Hub on the south end of the city.

Gas stations owned by Len McEnery, who has required city approval as he has expanded operations in Joliet, contributed another $10,000.

Other major contributors doing business with the city listed from the second half of 2021 included: PT Ferro Construction, $5,000; Bays Investment, $3,500; and Austin Tyler Construction, $3,100.

Rock Run Crossings, the name for the development dependent on $103 million in city-issued bonds for the project Cullinan Properties is developing at Interstates 55 and 80, contributed $3,100 to O’Dekirk in the third quarter of 2021.

Two contributors switched sides.

D’Arcy himself contributed $1,500 to Citizens for O’Dekirk in August 2021, presumably before he decided to run for mayor.

Herb Lande’s company, Imperial Construction, donated $3,500 to O’Dekirk in July 2021.

Lande and his company donated $15,500 to O’Dekirk’s campaign fund as of December 2020, making him one of the biggest contributors to O’Dekirk. At that time, O’Dekirk named Lande as a replacement for Donald Dickinson, who resigned from the City Council. The council approved Lande, who did not seek to keep the office in the April 2021 election for City Council.

Now. Lande is on the host committee for the D’Arcy fundraiser on Tuesday.

He contributed $5,000 to the D’Arcy campaign, according to the filing Tuesday with the Illinois State Board of Elections.