All campaign donations, mapped.
Sophia King is connected to and endorsed by the power brokers in her ward
This includes the Obamas, and she is heavily backed by Cook County Board President and mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle. However, these donations have been made by individuals rather than corporations, and there is no evidence of pay-to-play. Most of these people seem to know King personally and believe in her. She is a member of the Progressive Caucus and her largest contributor is SEIU.
Rahm Emanuel appointed Sophia King alderman in 2016 after Will Burns stepped down from his position. King won a 2017 special election to keep her seat.
She has received donations from many wealthy individuals that live in Kenwood between 47th and 51st streets, including David J Vitale, former president and CEO of the Chicago Board of Trade; Brett Hart, former acting CEO of United Airlines; Louis Carr, President of BET; Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education under Obama; and James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association. It’s not ideal that an alderman is so influenced by Chicago’s most elite in a ward where many suffer in poverty.
She has also taken contributions from the Chicago Teachers’ Union, the IBEW, and the Chicago Federation of Labor. She hasn’t taken any donations from the developers or architects behind the redevelopment of the Michael Reese hospital. Of her top 25 contributors, only two are involved in real estate or development; one is from a local restaurant, and the rest are from her neighbors, unions, or other politicians.
Sophia King has accepted questionable donations to her campaign fund. Mamon Powers of Powers & Sons Construction, the contractor that built the first part of the massive Harper Court Development, contributed $2,500 to her campaign, and we expect he wants more work in Hyde Park as high rises and office buildings continue to rise. King also accepted a contribution from MAC Properties despite calls from residents to prevent MAC from acquiring more properties. Her largest contributions from other politicians both came from funds controlled by 27th ward alderman Walter Burnett. Burnett has been complicit in the displacement of former residents of Cabrini Green and gentrification in the the 27th ward.
In general, though, Sophia King’s base of support has come from unions and neighbors, not from developers and financiers demanding quid pro quos.