It’s primary season and the race is on. That’s according to an e-letter sent today by People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch. The committee has 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 seat that 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, July 1 through Sept. 30, the letter states that Welch raised $48,477. At the beginning of that period, he had $9,748 on hand, raising his total to $58,225.

The fundraising reports state that Welch got significant financial support from the heads of several Proviso Township communities, including Forest Park. The e-letter also makes note of this.

Mayor Anthony Calderone, for instance, donated $500 to Welch.

“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. Forest Park Commissioner Rory Hoskins, one of Calderone’s political rivals, is also running for the seat.

Welch received money from other powerful mayors like Cicero’s Larry Dominick, Melrose Park’s Ron Serpico, Broadview’s Sherman Jones, and 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.

Other area political figures have donated to Welch’s campaign as well, 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, a custodian at the district’s schools, contributed $1,000.

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

One of those competitors is Hoskins. The e-letter states that 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, who 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, Park District of Forest Park board member.

Marty Tellalian, a former village commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for mayor earlier this year, gave Hoskins $750. Tellalian and Hoskins are friends and campaigned together 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.”

He declined to talk about his ideas, saying, “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 – which Welch said he can deliver.

“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, noting 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.”