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Hollywood Pays Attention to a Different Mayor’s Race: Chicago 2015

In the race for Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti will visit UTA on Thursday for a fund raiser described as a roundtable focusing on key entertainment industry issues, while an independent committee set up for his opponent, Wendy Greuel, has recently collected $5,000 and $10,000 checks from IATSE locals.

Yet as invested as show biz donors are in the May 21 citywide election, they also have their attention on Chicago’s city race. It’s not until 2015, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel (pictured above) has drawn recently from an extensive list of industry figures to build up a war chest. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reports that Emanuel held a recent Los Angeles fund raiser and drew contributions from the Walt Disney Co.’s Robert Iger, Universal’s Ron Meyer, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Windsor Media’s Terry Semel, along with Aaron Sorkin and Laurie David, among others.

Given Emanuel’s obvious industry connections, it is not much of a surprise that he would do well in raising money for a race that is still two years out, and it is not even that unusual. In 2011, Newark Mayor Cory Booker was able to garner support from writer-director J.J. Abrams, Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon and WME Entertainment’s Patrick Whitesell, among others, at a fund raiser for his 2014 citywide re-election. The draw wasn’t a sudden interest in all things Newark, but a rallying behind a figure perceived to be a rising political star. As it turned out, Booker is now running for the Senate, and has lined up an even more extensive list of donors (more like a cross section of Hollywood’s political engaged) for an April 25 event at the home of Jerry Weintraub and Susan Elkins. Tickets for that event start at $5,000 per person.

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