Friday, April 26, was the deadline for the second campaign finance reports from city council candidates. This will be the last set of reports filed before the election, and second-to-last report overall. Why do these reports matter? Looking “behind the curtain” helps voters understand the costs involved in an election campaign, and the reports give insight into who funds the campaigns and where the money is spent.
The first reports were filed back on April 4 and covered the beginning of the campaigns in January through March 25. You’ll remember that it was that set of reports that led to the story about Baroody’s filing error which named the wrong campaign donor, leading to a story in the paper and a corrected filing. So these reports are important to study closely, if for no other reason than to keep the candidates honest.
These newest reports cover the period from March 26 through April 24. Here are some key takeaways…
Candidate for Place 2 Kim Clarkson received the highest total contributions for the second straight reporting period, logging just over $5,700 in contributions. Place 1 candidate Gary Cochrane came in second with $5,360. Garcia and Baroody collected far fewer dollars this period with small numbers of donors.
Campaign spending decreased this period and the expenses shifted largely to newspaper advertising, whereas during the first cycle, most of the money was spent on promotional items such as yard signs. Clarkson had the highest expenses followed by Cochrane, Garcia, and Baroody.
One of the items required on the report is the “total contributions maintained as of last day of reporting period” AKA, cash on hand. Here are the amounts reported:
NOTE: Although Cochrane did not report this number, it appears based on our estimate that he should have approximately $8,800 remaining.
These figures beg the question: What becomes of these leftover funds when the campaign is over? It’s important to note that this is not the last report. During the last days of the campaign and the weeks following, many more expenses could be incurred. For example, there are election night gatherings, last minute printings, and other expenses that are incurred in the final days. Following the campaign, some contractors send invoices for their work during the entire campaign period. So it’s not clear whether or not the candidates will have anything leftover after the last report has been filed.
That said, remaining balances can be saved and used for reelection campaigns, they can be donated to other campaigns, and there are a few more legal uses of the monies that remain after the bills have been paid.
- Clarkson continues to lead the pack when it comes to contributions as well as expenses.
- Baroody raised very little during this reporting period and had to dip into personal funds to make up the difference.
- Cochrane has the largest sum remaining in the war chest, according to our estimate.
- Garcia maintains a solid nest egg in the bank for the last few days of the campaign.
- This reporting period saw the major expense category shift from promotional items to newspaper ads with 42% of all campaign expenses going to these advertisements (a total of over $7,000 during this month-long period).
Download each of the campaign finance reports here.