Disavowed group spent $10K on Evanston election

An ad "Paid for by A Better Evanston" on the Washington Post website April 1.

The Republican-affiliated political action committee that made a late splash in Evanston's election this year by running ads disavowed by all the candidates it supported has reported spending $10,000 on the effort.

A Better Evanston, in a report filed with the State Board of Elections says it has debts of that amount to a digital advertising firm called Xpress Professional Services, Inc.

The ad campaign saw ads promoting mayoral candidate Steve Hagerty, city clerk candidate Devon Reid and 1st Ward aldermanic candidate Lee Cabot popping up on an array of national websites when they were visited by Evanston residents, as well as ads opposing incumbent 1st Ward Alderman Judy Fiske.

The group lists as its committee chair Blair Garber, who is is the Evanston Township Republican Committeeman, the state GOP Central Committeeman for the 9th Congressional District and chairman of the Illinois State Lottery Control Board.

Once those ties became apparent, Hagerty repudiated the group's endorsement, and the two other candidates it backed soon followed suit.

A Better Evanston didn't report receiving any contributions in its report to the state and, with no funds on hand, it wasn't clear how it plans to pay its debt to the ad agency.

Efforts to reach Garber for comment so far have been unsuccessful.

Related story

Hagerty repudiates group's endorsement (3/24/17)

Topic: 

Comments

So What

The only candidate supported by the DPOE was Devon Reid. This is no big deal and, I'm sure, of little concern to most people.

Good Job

I'm glad Garber's negative role in the 2017 campaign was exposed, and that presumptive mayor-elect Hagerty resoundly rejected his support.

Garber also gave Devon Reid $250 through another committee

Did Reid actually repudiate the A Better Evanston support, Bill?

If so it is odd since Blair Garber also has a Committee, Friends of Blair Garber.   That committee gave Devon Reid $250 in March.

Interestingly, Jennifer Pritzker gave the Friends of Blair Garber $5000 in December.  Maybe in the next reporting period we may learn more about the PAC's financing sources.

Reid

Yep, Reid tells me he disavowed the support. But I didn't hear that from him until quite a while after I'd written the original story.

Garber's only other contributor last fall was Joan Lasonde, the GOP Congressional candidate who lost to Schakowsky last year. She gave $1K.

-- Bill

Following up?

Bill - are you following up in this? 

"If so it is odd since Blair Garber also has a Committee, Friends of Blair Garber.   That committee gave Devon Reid $250 in March.

Interestingly, Jennifer Pritzker gave the Friends of Blair Garber $5000 in December.  Maybe in the next reporting period we may learn more about the PAC's financing sources."

What?

Hi Guy,

I'm not seeing the need for any immediate follow up here.

1. A known Republican gives $250 to a candidate in a non-partisan race. Said candidate overall raises about $10K, and gets two-thirds of the vote in an overwhelmingly Democratic town. What's the big deal? (I supposed we could wait and see whether Devon starts wearing an American flag lapel pin.)

2. A billionaire gives what for a billionaire is a modest amount to said known Republican. What's the big deal?

As subsequent quarterly campaign finance reports are issued, I'll try to keep track of what all the players are doing. But I'm not seeing any need for a follow up at the moment.

-- Bill

Reid and Garber

Reid was quoted in another publication on March 24 remarking about A Better Evanston:

"Honestly, I had no clue about the group prior to its inception. I think they're endorsing me because I stand for open government and transparency, I've heard the group is a Republican group, but I think the issues that pertain to the clerk's office are non-partisan and I think everyone can get behind open government,"

However, Garber's Friends of Blair gave Reid $250 on March 7.

Are we really supposed to believe that he didn't know what Garber was up to given the fact that he was a major donor?

How can he disavow support when he is getting direct financing from Garber?

Doesn't pass the smell test.

Evanston lacks diversity

OMG- A Republican-affiliated political action committee runs ads for some candidates and these candidates act as if Putin is behind it.

The DPOE endorses Reid and that's perfectly acceptable. 

Word to elected Evanston officials - in America there is more than one political party and most have valid points. 

This goes to show ya Evanston is close minded, intolerant and lacking in political diversity. Sad. 


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