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Rahm Emanuel: Will big bucks decide the Chicago election?

The race for Chicago mayor has never seen this level of fundraising. Rahm Emanuel has raised almost $12 million – and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun less than half a million.

Chicago mayoral candidates, from left, Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, Carol Moseley Braun, and Miguel del Valle, participate in a debate at WGN-TV in Chicago on Jan. 27. Mr. Emanuel has raised millions more than any other candidate, allowing him to reach the public through ads – including a spot in Sunday's playoff game – instead of in-person appearances.

Chris Sweda / AP

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Rahm Emanuel’s bid to become the next mayor of Chicago is outflanking the competition by millions of dollars, most of it raised before a new Illinois law went into effect to limit contributions from donors.

According to data from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Mr. Emanuel’s campaign fund totals $11.8 million, about four times more than rival Gary Chico, who has received $2.4 million. Former US Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has $446,000 and Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle has about $170,000.

Emanuel’s multimillion dollar lead in fundraising is unprecedented in a Chicago mayoral race, says Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a non-profit public interest group located in Chicago. The majority of Emanuel’s take, about $10.5 million, was earned though fundraising that took place between July and December. On Jan. 1, a new state law went into effect that limits individual contributions to $5,000, corporations and unions to $10,000, and political action committees to $50,000 per election.

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