6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 7, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com

Big Money Raised in City Council Races

by John Hammer Follow the money is always good advice in politics. If you are betting on political races, the safe bet is always on the candidate who raises the most money. There are exceptions ? our current president is one ? and a challenger usually has to raise considerably more money than the incumbent to unseat them. But all things being equal, the candidate who raises the most money usually wins. The pre-primary campaign financial reports for the Greensboro City Council candidates, which cover all the money raised through August 29, were due on Tuesday, Sept. 5. With the primary on Tuesday, Oct. 10, there is still plenty of time to raise money but this pre-primary report gives a good idea of who is winning the money race. The whole election is strange. Although 38 candidates filed, five have since dropped out, bringing the total number of candidates that are still running down to 33. But because they all dropped out too late to be removed from the ballot, all 38 names will be on the ballot for the Oct. 10 primary. The two biggest fundraisers so far in this election are both running in district races. They have both raised more money than any of the mayoral candidates or anyone running at large. District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann is known as a prodigious fundraiser and, as usual, Hoffmann has far outstripped everyone else in fundraising, having raised $61,830 this election cycle, which added to the $11,569 she already had in her campaign account, gave her a total of $73,399. Hoffmann has already spent $28,450, which is more than most of the candidates will raise and spend during the entire election, and she has $44,950 in her campaign account going into the primary. Hoffmann not only raises a lot of money, she has always made good use of her campaign funds, running an efficient and professional campaign. Although there will be two other District 4 candidates on the ballot, Andrew Belford has dropped out meaning her only opponent is Gary Kenton, who has not filed his preprimary report yet, but as of July 27 he had raised $3,025, and $2,000 of that is a loan from Kenton to the campaign. It is not unusual for candidates to loan money to their campaigns. It is often done to give the campaign a little operating capital, until the fundraising kicks in. District 3 Councilmember Justin Outling is number two on the list for the most money raised with $46,600 and he had $1,182 in his campaign account for a total of $47,782 available. Outling has spent $8,666, so he is in pretty good shape going into the primary with $39,117 in his campaign account. His only opponent who is raising money and filing reports is District 3 City Council candidate Craig Martin, who has raised $1,867 and spent $841, so he has $1,026 in his campaign account. District 3 City Council candidate Antuan Marsh filed a ?Certificate of Threshold? statement to not raise or spend more than $1,000, so he has no campaign finance reporting to do. Payton McGarry will be on the ballot but has dropped out of the race. Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who is running for reelection, has raised $5,750 and has $28,323 in her campaign account for a total of $34,073. She has spent $11,774 and has $22,299 going forward into the primary. In 2015, Vaughan ran against Sal Leone and Devin King. Vaughan defeated King in the general election, winning 88 percent of the vote, so she didn?t need to spend much. Dianne Moffett, who registered to vote in Greensboro and filed to run for mayor on the same day, has raised a total of $24,752 and spent $11,122, so she has cash on hand of $13,799. Moffett loaned her campaign committee $5,132 and the campaign committee has paid her back $1,500, so the numbers on the campaign finance report are a little difficult to follow. Mayoral candidate John Brown, according to his campaign finance report, has raised $10,551 and spent $6,240, leaving him a balance of $4,312 going into the primary season. It appears that Brown has put $7,239 in loans and cash into his own campaign. Regardless of how much of his own money Brown has spent, he is well behind the other two candidates in fundraising. Brown formed his campaign committee in August 2016, nearly a year before filing opened for municipal races. Often a candidate will form a campaign committee early to get a head start on raising money, but Brown also filed a threshold statement that he wouldn?t raise or spend more than $1,000. He withdrew his threshold statement on July 25, 2017,


which allowed him to raise and spend campaign funds. However, according to his campaign finance statement, he contributed over $3,500 to his own campaign before withdrawing the threshold statement on July 25. Campaign finance reports can be amended and often are because of some of the arcane rules, and the forms are not the least bit user friendly. The at-large race looks daunting on paper, with 15 candidates filing to run. But as far as campaign finance reports, it?s not too tough. At-large candidates Tijuana Hayes, Sylvine Hill, James Ingram and Andy Nelson all signed threshold statements that they would not raise or spend more than $1,000, which means they don?t have to file financial reports. It also means they have almost no chance of winning. Greensboro is a city of over 280,000 people and there is simply no way to let people know that you are running, much less why you are running, without spending some money. People may feel like they shouldn?t have to raise money to run for office and, of course, they don?t. But they do have to raise money if they expect to win, particularly running in a citywide race with 15 candidates. One of the reasons that incumbents have a huge advantage is simply name recognition, and these candidates that aren?t raising money also have almost no name recognition. Then there are Irving Allen, M.A. Bakie, Dianne Bellamy-Small, Lindy Perry-Garnette and Dan Jackson, who (continued on next page)


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