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DeKalb mayoral candidates disclose contributions

Mayoral candidate John Rey meets and greets with various attendees during his fundraiser event May 28 at the Hillside Restaurant in downtown DeKalb.
Mayoral candidate John Rey meets and greets with various attendees during his fundraiser event May 28 at the Hillside Restaurant in downtown DeKalb.

DeKALB – John Rey, Jennifer Groce, Mike Verbic and David Jacobson spent at least $42,000 combined in their efforts to capture the DeKalb mayoral seat.

Rey won the election with 1,500 votes, spending at least $11,000 in the process. According to reports filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections, Rey spent about $7.33 for each vote, Groce spent about $10.80, Verbic spent about $10.16, and Jacobson spent $9.81 per vote.

Candidates for office in Illinois, regardless of the level, are required to disclose contributions and expenditures to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Contributions of $1,000 or more must be reported within five business days, or two business days if it’s 30 days before an election.

Candidates can choose to report quarterly or twice a year. The reports showing what Rey, Groce and Jacobson spent in April are due July 15. Verbic already submitted his reports showing his April spending.

A candidate’s political committee can receive up to $5,300 from an individual, $10,500 from a corporation, labor organization or association, or $52,600 from a political action committee or another candidate’s political committee.

Rey raised $14,615.34 between Oct. 1 and March 31. His strongest supporter was someone who encouraged him to run: Richard Katz, the president of Resource Bank. Katz contributed $1,250 to his campaign. See his campaign filing documents here.

“He strongly endorsed my going for that office,” Rey said.

During this same period of time, Rey spent $11,088.72. He highlighted his spending of $1,813.73 at Le Print Express in Sycamore for various printed materials as being effective. He also spent $2,635.88 on signs and another $2,713 in various media.

“How do I get my name and platform out in front,” Rey said. He had $3,526.62 in his campaign war chest by the end of the closing period March 31.

Groce raised $14,890 between Jan. 1 and March 31. Like Rey, her backers also included prominent DeKalb citizens. John and Michael Larson, of Elmer Larson, Inc. contributed $3,500 cumulatively. Cohen Barnes, president of TBC Net and a member of the DeKalb school board, gave $1,000 to her campaign. See her committee's filing here.

While she has studied campaigns before, Groce said it was a challenge navigating a four-way race.

“When you’re looking at putting a campaign together, how do you get your campaign out there?” Groce said, adding that some of her supporters, like Michael Larson and Tim Struthers of Castle Bank, provided her insight on how to reach people.

She spent $14,024.77 during that same period, including $2,056.25 on yard signs and $7,531.25 on various advertisements. Groce had $865.23 in her campaign fund when she entered final stretch of the race.

Verbic raised and spent $11,056.19 between Jan. 1 and April 15, according to his semiannual report. His top contributors included local landlord Jim Mason, who donated $2,734, and the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee and the Laborers’ International Union of America, who each contributed $2,500.

“He believed most in my ideas for leadership in DeKalb,” Verbic said about Mason’s support. “He wanted to get behind who was the best candidate.”

Verbic described his campaign expenditures as being diverse. He spent $2,734 on various radio advertisements, including 60-second spots on WLBK 1360 AM and B95 FM, and a 20-minute radio show that ran for six weeks. See the filing documents here.

Jacobson, whose campaign filing is available here, entered Feb. 16 with $3,000 in his campaign war chest. By March 31, he would raise an additional $8,603. The majority of that money came from himself; Jacobson lent $5,000 of his own to his campaign.

He also received $1,000 from Robert Jacobson, his father, and $500 from the Phi Sigma Kappa Alumni Association. Jacobson acknowledged he did not have many donors, but he said his self-financing made him unbeholden to special interests.

“It’s very important to me ... that I believe in the message we’re putting out there,” Jacobson said. “It’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.”

During the same period of time, Jacobson spent $5,930.43, including $1,296 for a bus advertisement. In the final days of the campaign, Jacobson had $5,672.57 in his war chest.

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