While plenty of attention has been paid to the Chicago mayoral race, and to all of the drama surrounding the City Council, one important race has largely flown under the radar.
That race is the battle to replace Kurt Summers, the current treasurer and former chief of staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who announced he wouldn’t seek re-election after just one term in office.
With the February election nearing, three candidates are hoping to fill his seat. The treasurer’s job is essentially that of an accountant for the city, with the office managing the city’s increasingly-troubled pension funds. The office also maintains all operating funds for the city, and controls the city’s investments.
47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar is one of the candidates running for the position, and he’s hoping this run goes better than his failed run for Illinois governor.
Pawar, a progressive who dropped out of that race last year, has floated the idea of creating a publicly-owned bank, which would aim to provide low-interest loans for residents and would essentially cut private banks out of the business of handling the city’s finances.
Pawar has received several key endorsements, including from the Chicago-Sun Times and SEIU Local Chapter One. Representative Mike Quigley has also endorsed Pawar, along with a handful of other state lawmakers.
Another candidate, State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, has also received some key support, with SEIU Local 73, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White all pledging their support.
Conyears-Ervin has served as the 10th District’s representative since 2017, and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Roosevelt University.
Accountant Peter Gariepy, who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas last year, is also running. His campaign is largely self-financed, after he loaned himself just under $40,000 last quarter.
32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack has also endorsed Gariepy’s candidacy, and has also loaned him $15,000, according to a filing with the State Board of Elections.
Conyears-Ervin has $216,184 in her war chest, according to the State Board of Elections, and that outpaces the $193,834 that Pawar currently has on hand.