Anan’s money-raising and -spending

Anan Abu-Taleb put his money where his mouth was for the recent village-presidential election to the tune of loans to his campaign totaling $23,000-plus. And donors coughed up the remainder of a $72,000 total — as of the latest from the state board of elections, Oak Leaves reports.

His support was “both wide and deep,” said the Oak Leaves.

Of 79 contributions, 10 were for at least $1,000 each. In addition to dozens of Oak Park residents, eight Abu-Taleb contributors live in River Forest, with other donors from Glencoe, Berwyn, Forest Park, Western Springs and Riverside.

John Hedges’ campaign raised $21,000-plus, including the VMA’s loan of $3,500, which has been repaid. Its 29 itemized individual contributions totaled $10,284, of which $1,375 came from Hedges and the other three VMA candidates. The largest contributions were two $1,000 donations, including one by Lake Street Theatre operator Willis Johnson.

This 3-to-1 spending advantage is bound to be a sticking point for many. If it’s not a village record, it’s close to it. Been there, for what it’s worth, though in far lower numbers, in school board campaigns of long ago. It bothers people.

Several things: It’s not dirty money. It’s how people help candidates. Anan was serious about winning, as he evidently has been serious all his life about anything he put his hand to. He was not dabbling in this and has given no evidence of not meaning what he said about wanting to change things. And he convinced people, winning those forum debates.

The business community had been waiting for someone like him. The time was ripe. With them as with dozens of citizens who had never even heard of him before he campaigned, he was the man for Oak Park.

He’s also on a personal search, to judge from his dramatic self-referential comments at the dramatically arranged governor’s signing of the bill-amendments that got the liquor-commissioner monkey off his back. His father in the old country, dead at 95, had never known “a day of freedom, and now I am an elected official,” he said “before tears overtook him.”

This was at the end. He didn’t weep on the hustings. He was convincing. You can’t hold it against John Hedges and his allies for losing this one against this candidate.


See also: Wed. Journal:

Abu-Taleb’s largest single loan was $12,000, which he paid to the campaign on April 4, just five days before Election Day. His campaign also received $8,000 between April 6 and 8, as Abu-Taleb made his final push for voters.

The Illinois Board of Elections report doesn’t include expenses reported after March 31.

While the bills of the Oak Park Together committee reflected more traditional expenses, Abu-Taleb spent a substantial amount on political tactics unique to his campaign.

. . . with attention to the last item, which included

$4,500 for a political consultant, $1,500 for graphic design work, roughly $2,400 for yard signs, and around $600 for promotional items. Abu-Taleb’s expenses also included odds and ends like $188 for Dunkin Donuts and $542 for Facebook ads.

Other large expenses included close to $4,000 in newspaper ads; the Oak Park Together committee spent a little more than half that amount. Abu-Taleb’s campaign also forked out $7,175 for a fundraiser at his restaurant, Maya Del Sol, and $11,156 for direct mailing pieces.

In other words, he ran a well-funded, professionalized campaign which was something new in Oak Park, reflecting the impatience of his supporters, well-heeled or not, with the sweet-home-Oak Park style and narrow-scoped vision of traditional VMA people.

Supporters including the business community, tired of what they see as Mickey Mouse planning and fixing by people in over their heads.

More to come on this crucial transition.

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  • Galen Gockel  On May 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Correct. OP business leaders have been waiting for a candidate with Anan’s background and credentials. The 2015 campaign is about to begin.

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