Swansea attorney Judy Cates raised more than 10 times the amount of campaign contributions as her Republican opponent for the Fifth District Appellate Court in the same three month period, records show.
In her quarterly report filed Monday night with the Illinois State Board of Elections, Cates’ campaign committee reported receiving $67,875 in individual contributions between April 1 and June 30.
Cates’ challenger, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, raised $6,625 in campaign donations during the same period of time.
Not only did Cates, a Democrat, raise about 10 times more than her opponent, but campaign contribution records show that she brought in more than 25 times the amount of total individual contributions received by both of the Illinois Supreme Court candidates.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, a Democrat running to keep her appointment on the high court, received $450 in individual contributions between April 1 and June 30 and her Republican challenger, Cook County Circuit Judge James Gerard Riley, raised about $2,000 in individual donations during the same period.
Cates’ campaign committee, “Judy Cates for Judge,” reported having $18,964.93 on April 1 and $45,919.01 when the most recent reporting period ended on June 30. Her committee reported $74,407.55 in receipts for the period, which includes itemized and non-itemized contributions, as well as $5,437.55 in transfers.
Those transfers came from political committees and funds such as the Monroe County Democratic Central Committee, the UA Local 160 Plumbers & Pipefitters and the election committees of Rep. John Bradley and Cook County Commissioner Larry R. Rogers Jr., both Democrats.
Unlike McGlynn’s committee, “Citizens for Judge McGlynn,” Cate’s campaign committee reported receiving a handful of $5,000-plus donations, the majority of which came from outside the Fifth District.
Her largest contribution- $10,000- was made by the Farrise Law Firm, a California-based trial lawyer firm that handles a variety of complex civil litigation matters, as well as asbestos and wrongful death cases.
Out of the five $5,000 donations Cates’ committee received between April 1 and June 30, all came from law firms and lawyers in the Chicago area. Those contributions came from the Clifford Law Offices and John Cooney, Robert Cooney, Jr., Kevin Conway and Robert William Fahey, all four of whom are affiliated with the Chicago law firm of Cooney & Conway.
Records also show that Cates’ committee received two $2,500 donations from Chicago lawyers Todd Smith and Larry Rogers, both attorneys at Powers, Rogers & Smith, and a $1,500 contribution from the Chicago law firm of Hurley McKenna & Mertz.
In addition, Cates’ campaign committee reported receiving $1,000 contributions from each of the following: Chicago attorneys Philip Corboy Jr., Jerry Latherow and Lawrence Weisler, Chicago law firms Pavalon & Gifford and the Phillips Law Offices, the St. Charles law firm of Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers, Robert Bingle of Hinsdale, Bruce Kohen of Highland Park, David Galanti of Bethalto and Sandor Korein of Belleville.
Beside the $1,000-plus donations, Cates’ committee reported receiving $500 contributions from Thomas Power, Thomas Siracusa, Romanucci & Blandin and The Healy Law Firm, all of Chicago, as well as the Womick Law Firm in Carbondale.
Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Bruce Stewart of Harrisburg, a Democrat, also contributed $500 to Cates’ committee.
Many of Cates’ donors are members of or have previously served in leadership posts for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Cates is a past president of the statewide trial lawyers’ group.
While records show that about two dozen of the 35 itemized contributions reported by Cates’ committee came from sources outside of the Fifth District, the rest were made by individuals and law firms in southern Illinois and the Metro East area.
The Law Office of David R. Jones and Lucco, Brown, Threlkeld & Dawson, both based in Edwardsville, each donated $200 and the East St. Louis firm of Schoen, Walton, Telken & Foster contributed $250. Michelle Schafer and Sandra Shaffer, both of Marion, and Paul Schoen of Smithton donated $250 and Keith Short of Edwardsville gave Cates’ committee $200, records show.
Cates’ campaign manager Barzin Emami said today that “Many of our donations will, ultimately, come from people in southern Illinois who live in the Fifth District and who know that Judy Cates will be fair and is the best candidate.”
When asked if Cates’ campaign was seeking outside money as a result of the fall out Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder faced last year over some of her donations, Emami said, “Absolutely not, Barbara Crowder is a great judge, but her campaign doesn’t affect us.”
“In fact,” Emami added, “contrary to the donations received by the Crowder campaign that were the subject of [Madison County Record] reporting, the Cates campaign has received larger donations from lawyers outside of the Fifth District who believe in Judy Cates and her integrity, who will never have cases in the Fifth District.”
Cates’ committee reported receiving 35 itemized contributions totaling $63,450 and $4,425 of non-itemized contributions. Donations or expenditures that are $150 or less don’t have to be itemized under state law.
Her committee also reported receiving five itemized in-kind contributions totaling $4,322.14 for campaign related costs, including rent for office space provided by Belleville-based Threlkeld Investment Fund.
Between April 1 and June 30, Cates’ committee reported $47,453.47 in expenditures, which included a $5,000 transfer to the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association, a $220 transfer to the Perry County Democrats and $3,143.93 in non-itemized expenditures.
It also reported 53 itemized expenditures totaling $38,489.54 for various campaign related costs, such as $10,000 to Emami, her campaign manager, $5,000 to retain The Competence Group in Chicago and $2,500 to Fletcher Rowley, a Tennessee consulting firm.
Cates’ expenditures also cover costs for business cards, promotional T-shirts and signs, advertising in a downstate newspaper, nearly $700 for gasoline and close to $1,000 for meals on the campaign trial, all of which were eaten at 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro and O’Fallon.
Those expenditures brought Cates’ campaign coffer down to $45,919.01 as of June 30, although her committee did report receiving a $2,000 contribution from Douglas Aach of Belleville on July 11, after the reporting period ended.
McGlynn’s committee reported having $16,424.57 as of June 30.
While Cates’ biggest contribution -$10,000- came from a California law firm, McGlynn’s quarterly report shows that his biggest donation came from George W. Obernagel III, a self-employed farmer from Waterloo who gave McGlynn $1,400 in two separate contributions.
His committee also reported receiving a $1,000 contributions from Michael & Michelle Luhr of Columbia, and Mark Scoggins of Crowder & Scoggins in Columbia and his wife, Joy. In addition, McGlynn’s quarterly report shows receipt of several donations ranging from $200 to $550 from attorneys and residents of the Fifth District.
Records also show that McGlynn’s committee spent much less during the three month period in comparison to Cate’s committee, which reported $38,489.54 in expenditures. McGlynn’s committee reported transferring $4,000 to campaign committees for local Republican candidates and $979.97 on food for fundraising and in a contribution to the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee.
Unlike Cates’ committee, McGlynn’s committee reported having debts with a total balance of $17,782.48. A message left Monday with the treasurer of McGlynn’s committee was not immediately returned.
Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL), said Monday that he expects the battle for the Fifth District seat to be “a hotly contested race.” Although his group is still evaluating candidates and has not yet endorsed any candidates, Murnane said the ICJL endorsed McGlynn and opposed Cates in previous elections.
Although Murnane said the race for the downstate appeals seat will be one to watch, he expects “it will be a much quieter election year” as most of the attention will probably be placed on the presidential election.
Campaign contribution records can be found on the Illinois State Board of Election’s website at www.elections.il.gov.