Today, McHenry County Blog continues its series based on the initial rankings published October 18, ranking the candidates in the 14th district Republican primary.
The rankings, based on the objective evidence of 3rd quarter fundraising and observations are as follows, with links to their articles focusing on their candidacies:
- Jim Oberweis (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Ted Gradel (Prelude)
- Sue Rezin (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Catalina Lauf (Part 1, Part 2a & Part 2b)
All four of the top-tier candidates according to McHenry County Blog were confirmed by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) as On the Radar Young Guns candidates, after the latest NRCC announcement on October 30.
Today, we begin a 2-part series to focus on Ted Gradel, who ranked #2 of the top-tier candidates, and was named to the NRCC On the Radar list in mid-August.
Given the impressive write-up Gradel received from the Chicago Tribune last week about his competitive boxing while at Notre Dame, “the Truth” boxing nickname he earned in pugilistic sports is the one to be used for his moniker.
Gradel’s strengths can be outlined into 3 parts:
- Love of God & Country
- Business Success from the Pits to Self-made Millionaire
Love of God & Country
When Ted Gradel’s announcement came across the radio he was running for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 14th district back on April 23, after the initial “who?”, I looked up his information online, through the links provided by Capitol Fax.
After reading about him, I wrote the following on the Illinois Review blog the following morning:
“Ted Gradel is a genuine, Psalm 128 Kingdom Man. A family man, a Christian, whom God blessed with a successful career and more importantly, a family.”John Lopez, 4/24/19 on Illinois Review
For someone who genuinely loves God & country, you do not have to ask if they do. Love shows, or “judge them by their fruit” as the Scriptures teach.
That was the first impressions of Gradel between the announcement video and the information on his website. His genuine sincere passion for what is really important in life was taught to his family, and inspired his daughters.
In April, it was learned his two oldest daughters followed in his footsteps and attended Notre Dame, while the youngest is still in high school.
In the boxing article, in the feature in the Chicago Tribune it was learned his daughters also followed in his footsteps and earned championships in boxing at Notre Dame.
Gradel inspired his family.
And Gradel gives back to the community, in particular his contributions to youth sports, both through his church and through youth basketball. According to his campaign website, Gradel has coached over 1,500 youth basketball and soccer games.
And he is coaching even now.
Given how he had to earn his spot on the Notre Dame football team as a walk-on, and earning his championship as a boxer, he taught Millennials and teaches Generation Z the life lessons he learned earlier in life through sports.
Business Success from the Pits to Self-made Millionaire
On April 28, I wrote the following, also on Illinois Review about Gradel:
“… from the pits of the CBOT and CME as a floor trader, who graduated from the pits at the turn-of-the-century to be an independent investor, comparisons will be drawn to what all of the candidates have done with their lives to determine who is best qualified to challenge Congresswoman Lauren Underwood in November of 2020.”John Lopez, 4/28/19 Illinois Review
Clearly, Gradel has been blessed with the fruit of his labor and living out the American dream not only for himself, but for his wife whom he’s been married for 29 years, and raising three daughters, as well as the giving back to the community.
Reading Gradel’s Financial Disclosure statement he filed earlier this year, it is noticed he has very little earned income. The bulk of his income is is in the section describing his business investments, which provides for him and his family’s needs.
Not many people, in their mid-50s, achieve this kind of financial independence, and it was earned as the fruit of the American dream through the provision of God.
In Gradel’s testimony three years ago before the FDA, a glimpse of his challenges with the federal government can be possible ties into his congressional campaign.
From the prelude article (link above):
“I am having a hard time understanding how… I feel like I should have the right to have those cells [from my body] injected back into my own body, without having to deal with government regulations and extensive testing or anything like that.
“That decision should rest between me and my physician. If you surveyed the average U.S. citizen and asked whether they should be allowed access to their own blood, tissue or cells or whether they would prefer the FDA restrict that access, I have a very strong opinion that the vast majority would say that decision should be theirs and their physician’s.”Excerpt from Ted Gradel testimony to the FDA 9/13/16
Comparisons can be, to a degree, drawn between Gradel and fellow congressional candidate Jim Oberweis. Like Oberweis back in 2001, Gradel is 55 entering his first election for public office. Oberweis had just turned 55 when he announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in the summer of 2001.
And while Gradel did not own a family dairy business like Oberweis, who purchased it in the mid 1980s, both Oberweis and Gradel earned fortunes through investments and asset management.
While Gradel and Oberweis are not the only successful business people running for Congress in the 14th district, his road to financial success from the trading pits is unique.
Per this comparison, Gradel’s strength in fundraising is self-evident:
While not in the lead in overall campaign fundraising, Gradel is in the lead for most contributions from donors, having raised over $438,000 from donors, compared with Jim Oberweis’ nearly $346,000 from donors (YTD Receipts minus YTD Loans) through September 30.
And given nearly $103,000 of Gradel’s cash on hand cannot be used for the primary, he has the most maxed-out donors of any candidates.
In other words, if Gradel wins the primary, he immediately has over $100K ready to use on March 18 to begin building the millions of dollars needed to compete against Congresswoman Underwood.
Gradel’s fundraising was documented in this October 18 Local Government Information Services article.
COMING IN PART 2: Opportunities for Ted Gradel’s campaign, including results of research over the past 2 1/2 months.