It’s primary season and the race is on. That’s according to an e-letter sent today by The People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch. The committee’s been fundraising for Proviso District 209 School Board President Chris Welch’s bid for the state’s 7th District House seat.

The e-letter states that the March 20 Democratic primary for state rep is going to be a “costly race.” But it also notes that Welch’s recent fundraising prowess “outpaces” his competitors who are also vying for the 7th District seat Karen Yarbrough is vacating to run for Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Citing records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections for the quarterly fundraising period between July 1 and Sept. 30, the letter states that Welch raised $48,477. It also notes that, at the beginning of that period, he had $9,748 on hand. So, at the end of the filing period he had $58,225, according to the state board of elections.

The fundraising reports state that Welch got significant financial support from the heads of several Proviso Township towns, including Forest Park, something that is also noted in the e-letter.

For instance, Mayor Anthony Calderone gave Welch $500 of his own money.

“The only thing I will say is I’m definitely going to support Chris Welch in his efforts to be our next state representative,” said Calderone, when asked about his support. Calderone is a political rival of Forest Park Commissioner Rory Hoskins, who is also running for the seat.

Welch also received money from other powerful mayors like Cicero’s Larry Dominick, Melrose Park’s Ron Serpico, Broadview’s Sherman Jones, as well as Hillside Village President Joseph Tamburino.

Dominick’s campaign committee transferred $1,000 into Welch’s account, Serpico’s contributed $1,000, Jones donated $500 and Tamburino gave him $250.

The Town of Cicero is currently under federal investigation for personnel practices that might have led to racial and sex discrimination, among other things, in its hiring. What’s more, Dominick is personally facing two separate sexual harassment lawsuits.

Other political bigwigs have also given to Welch, either individually, or through their committees. That list includes former Cook County Commissioner Joe Moreno ($500), 16th District Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski ($250) and 13th District State Sen. Kwame Raoul ($1,000).

Proviso District 209 officials and employees, current and former, are also part of the list of donors. D209 board member Kevin McDermott, who was part of a 2009 lawsuit against Welch, but later dropped out, gave him $250. Milton Patch, former Proviso East principal and current D209 athletics and activities coordinator, gave Welch $200.

Tony Valente, who took over as Proviso East principal this school year, donated $500 to the committee. TM Kennedy & Associates, a public relations corporation owned by D209 spokeswoman TaQuoya Kennedy, also gave Welch $250.

Meanwhile, Welch’s brother, Billy Welch, a custodian at the district’s schools, contributed $1,000.

The e-letter also boasts that Welch’s committee has significantly more money than his competitors.

One of those competitors is Hoskins. The e-letter states Hoskins’ committee, Citizens for Hoskins, is a “distant second in fundraising behind Welch.”

At the end of the same filing period, Hoskins had $7,765. Most of his contributions have come from members of the public, and those folks have given in much smaller amounts. The only contributions Hoskins has received from elected officials are a pair of $150 donations from Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell and Cathy McDermott, Forest Park Park District board member.

Marty Tellalian, a former village commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for mayor earlier this year, also gave Hoskins $750. Tellalian and Hoskins are friends and ran alongside each other in this year’s local election.

“I’m going to people who know me and making a case to people,” Hoskins said. “The race is more about ideas and a track record than it is about checks from special interests.”

Hoskins would not discuss any campaign ideas or talking points during the brief conversation with the Forest Park Review.

“As we move forward, I’d be happy to share more information with you,” he said.

Welch was willing to discuss some issues, however. He said residents have told him that they want the next state representative to have strong relationships with local politicians and elected officials down in Springfield – attributes Welch said he has.

“I am the most experienced of the candidates. I am the most tested. And, I am a homegrown candidate. I have lived in the 7th District my entire life,” Welch said.

Welch also said that in the 7th District, like many other places, people want more jobs and safer communities.

Another thing he said he would focus on is supporting legislation that would change how public schools are funded, so there isn’t such a heavy reliance on property taxes, and poorer districts aren’t at a disadvantage. Instead, Welch said, the Illinois State Board of Education should be allowed to use a formula that combines revenue from sales tax and income tax to give to public schools.

Welch has three fundraisers scheduled for the month of November, one of which is at the Maywood Racetrack, his committee’s e-letter says.

“My message is being heard, as is evidenced by the fundraising efforts,” Welch said. “And that support continues.”