If I had donated $25 to Miguel del Valle during his year-end fundraising drive, I would have felt like I’d wasted my money when he announced he’s raised only $150,000.
Del Valle is campaigning to run an Alpha World City, yet his fundraising ambitions are more modest than an independent filmmaker on kickstarter.com. To give you an idea of how overmatched del Valle is, Rahm Emanuel has $10 million. That sixty-six times as much money as del Valle. To use a comparison from the animal kingdom, an American black bear weighs sixty-six times as much as an English toy spaniel.
Del Valle has been trying to make a virtue of his lack of hustle. He calls himself “the poorest candidate -- with the most to offer,” and insists that his penury means he’ll never have his strings pulled by monied interests.But you don’t have to be John the Baptist to prove you’re not John D. Rockefeller. Del Valle doesn’t even have enough money for the basic necessities of politics, such as advertising. Even Patricia Watkins, a candidate so obscure she can’t get an invitation to a debate, has raised $535,000, enough to buy her two weeks of advertising on cable TV. Since his “I’m Miguel del Valle” ad last fall, the city clerk hasn’t been seen or heard on the air.
As the most liberal candidate, del Valle is an important voice on homelessness, hunger, environmentalism and worker’s rights. But right now, he looks like a spoiler who will ensure the election of the most conservative candidate, Rahm Emanuel. Running last among the top contenders, Del Valle is drawing Latino and progressive votes away from Gery Chico, the candidate with the best chance of defeating Emanuel. If the election were held today, Emanuel would face the flailing Carol Moseley Braun in a runoff.
Del Valle needs to get serious about fundraising or get out of the race. Otherwise, he’ll just be wasting the votes and the money of his idealistic followers.
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