Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Democratic congressman of Illinois 4th congressional district, significantly decreased his re-election campaign spending from $1 million in 2017-2018 to only about half a million so far in the 2019-2020 election cycle.
Garcia has only spent a total of $494,766 as of October 14, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Most of Garcia’s money has been spent on payroll at $112, 241, campaign consulting at $61,220 and printing at $58,150.
The reports from Garcia’s first campaign cycle, 2017-2018, show he spent most of his campaign money in similar areas. His payroll came in at the highest with $118,020, printing at $102,772 and salary at $92,337.
Paychex, Inc., an American provider of human resources, payroll and benefits located in Rochester, New York, handles the campaigns payroll and employee benefits.
The campaign has used this company since the 17-18 election cycle.
Andrew Mayersohn, committee researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that analyzes political spending, said Garcia is spending less since he doesn’t face any “serious threats” in this campaign cycle.
“Members of congress in safe districts like Garcia’s generally don’t need to spend much to win their general elections,” said Mayersohn in an email. “The only reason for them to break the bank is if they have a serious primary challenger.”
This election cycle, Garcia’s opponent is Republican businessman Jesus Solorio. According to FEC records on October 15, Solorio has raised $755 for the 19-20 cycle and spent $0.49.
Solorio is the chairman of the Hispanic GOP Organization, and was appointed by the 4th Republican Congressional State Central Committee to replace Christopher Lasky after he passed in December of 2019.
In an interview with NBC Chicago, Solorio openly criticized Garcia stating that he is a candidate that “won’t do the hard work.”
Solorio says Illinois has been under one party for too long with politicians who use “scare tactics” to try to hide their “failures.”
HM Consulting, a full-service fundraising firm specializing in fundraising services and consulting strategies, received $61,220 from Garcia’s campaign. The firm is known for putting together teams for Washington politicians and Political Action Committees.
HM Consulting has done work for the campaign in areas such as raising money for senate races and creating long-term donor relations.
Elected to Congress in November 2018, with more than 86 percent of the votes, Garcia is now up for his first re-election after replacing former Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
It has also been reported from FEC records that Garcia gave $32,102 to Richard Drew, retired project manager for the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and $32,000 to Robert West, a professor of pathology at Stanford University. Drew served as State Finance Director for Chuy for Congress in 2019, and West served as Campaign Manager for the primary election in 2020.
Roberto Sepulveda, campaign manager for Garcia, did not respond before the deadline regarding questions on why the campaign decided to lower spending during their re-election cycle and why money was given to Drew and West.
The 2020 reports from the Center for Responsive Politics’ website, OpenSecrets.org, shows Garcia’s continuing interest in social issues and endorsements.
According to the report, Garcia spent $5,000 on the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago. The non-profit organization is composed of Puerto Rican leaders who develop policies and agendas for the Puerto Rican community in Chicago, specifically the Humboldt Park area.
Garcia also funded Latinos running for Congress in the U.S.: Melissa Viverito for $2,000, Cindy Axne for $1,000, Eira Sepulveda for $4,000 and Rafeal Yanez for $2,000.
As an immigrant from Mexico, Garcia has been vocal about reforming the country’s immigration policies and advocates strongly against Trump’s anti-immigration attitude.
He urged officials to investigate claims from ICE detention facilities on the ongoing issues of non-consensual hysterectomies happening in privatized women facilities at the border.