Greenwood’s early cash influx outpaces Schmidt in 114th state House race

By Bill Dwyer For Chronicle Media

Early indications show that former state Rep. LaToya Greenwood will raise serious money in her effort to take back the 114th state House seat from Kevin Schmidt.  

A Republican chiropractor from Millstadt, Schmidt topped Greenwood in something of an upset in 2022, winning by nearly 6 percentage points after criticizing Democratic tax, climate and COVID lockdown policies. 

Greenwood is showing her intent to assure that does not happen again. Her prospects are bolstered by clear signs of backing from a Democratic establishment that is poised to spend big on not just maintaining but growing its massive veto proof majority in the Illinois House and Senate.  

The St. Clair County district includes all or parts of Belleville, Centreville, East St. Louis, Fairview Heights Lebanon, Mascoutah, and O’Fallon. 

Besides spending time knocking on doors and making the rounds at political gatherings, job fairs and meet-and-greets, Greenwood is beginning to pull in the sort of cash that Illinois Democrats have used with great effectiveness to outpace Republican opponents in both experienced boots on the ground and expansive media presence.  

While money doesn’t guarantee political success, the lack of it all but guarantees failure. In 2022, Schmidt raised $131,000, with $22,000 coming from a loan from himself. He also received $57,000 in in-kind help, $42,000 of it from Republican political committees.  

That amount of cash likely won’t get the job done in 2024. Greenwood, who started the year with $33,000 on hand, took in more than $107,000 in the first quarter of 2024, far outpacing Schmidt. 

The Republican started 2024 with $21,000 and took in just more than $20,000, half of that from the Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management, during this year’s first quarter. 

Included in Greenwood’s first quarter revenue was $8,576.42 from House Speaker Chris Welch’s Democrats for the Illinois House, in five in-kind payments for campaign manager Lance Allen’s salary. Allen’s LinkedIn page touts his experience as a campaign field organizer.  

Welch flexed his speakership muscles impressively in 2022, helping novices take seats from Republicans in a strong election cycle that saw few disappointments, Greenwood’s loss being an exception.  

Money can be infused into a campaign in several ways, including direct donations from individuals, through transfers from state and local political committees, and from labor groups and other special interests.  

On March 18, the Greenwood campaign received $61,000 from the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee as part of $74,400 from 10 PACs, most of it union money.  

She also received $13,800 from Chicagoans Michael and Cari Sacks. Michael Sacks is chairman and CEO of Chicago-based GCM Grosvenor, a board member of the Barack Obama Foundation, and a member of two advisory boards to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnston.  

So far, Greenwood has spent a bit more than $15,000, most of it on printing and advertising. 

Schmidt has expended just more than $6,000, with $4,100 going to lawn signs, printing, and mailing, and $600 for consulting.  

The second quarter is all but certain to see major infusions of cash into both Greenwood’s and Schmidt’s campaigns. As in 2022, the safe bet is the Democratic establishment will far exceed Republicans in expenditures.  

Should the November election for the 114th state House District be close, the possible tiebreaker will likely go to the Democrats, who have billionaire Gov. JB Pritzker as a benefactor. Since 2017, Pritzker has contributed an astounding $282 million to Democratic campaign coffers, most of it to political committees supporting Democratic candidates.