When the campaign finance reports come out, the first and most important question is, how much did they raise? But it’s also interesting to take a look at how much the candidates are spending.
The most recent campaign finance reports include all activity during the first six months of the year, meaning there were still four full months of campaigning left (July, August, September October) before the November election.
It’s funny looking at how differently candidates spend money. Some spend generously on food for themselves and their staff/volunteers. Some spend a lot of money on website stuff.
So far the only Council candidate in the city who has spent significantly is Kathie Tovo. She raised $41.5k and spent $25,000 in the first half of the year. About $15,000 of that was spent on consulting from Y Strategies, a firm run by Mykle Tomlinson, a prolific adviser to local Democrats. Ironically, among its portfolio of clients is former Council Member Chris Riley, who Tovo beat in 2014.
Tovo also spent about $3,200 on paid canvassers because she had to collect about 3,000 signatures in order to be allowed to run for a third term (without the signatures it’s a two-term limit).
Tovo’s challenger, Danielle Skidmore, has raised $47k and spent just over $7k. Most of that went to Intrepida Strategies, a consulting firm run by her campaign manager, Alicia Weigel. She also spent about $900 on Wonk Consulting, a firm affiliated with longtime City Hall insider Heidi Gerbracht (former aide to Council Member Bill Spellman, former lobbyist for the Real Estate Council of Austin).
Incumbent CM Pio Renteria raised $26k and has spent $6.1k. Of that, $2,710 went to pay Nic Solarzano, who is still working full-time at City Hall as a staffer, for campaign work. He also paid $350 to Edna Arellano, a city employee, for some campaign work.
James Valadez raised $26k but has thus far only spent $77 on advertising and printing.
District 8: No significant spending yet in District 8. Nobody is spending on staff/consultants yet.
Paige Ellis raised $6,2k and spent $1,4k, including $300 to Brittne Walker for consulting, $550 on Facebook ads and $88 for a meal at Snooze with consultants.
Bobby Levinski raised $26k and spent $1,3k, including $11.37 to Capitol Rubber Stamp for a name badge and $270 for email distribution.
Rich DePalma raised $28k and spent $2,8k, including $322 on campaign collateral.
Frank Ward declared his candidacy the other day, so we have no records of his finances yet.
If anybody wants to run against Ann Kitchen, they need to file before Aug. 20. It’s looking increasingly likely that Kitchen, whose enthusiasm for an excruciatingly slow CodeNEXT process is widely rumored to be driven by her desire to make it to the filing deadline without drawing an anti-CodeNEXT opponent, will indeed be the only name on the ballot in District 5. She has nevertheless raised $32k and spent $5.5k, roughly half of which came from the $2.8k she spent on her campaign kickoff at Matt’s El Rancho in March.
Vince Harding raised $25k and has only spent $1.1k, all of which was on credit card processing fees or something.
Natasha Harding-Madison has raised $10.2k and spent $2.9k, including $500 on t-shirts and $100 on Facebook ads.
Mariana Salazar has raised $7k and spent $2.3k. She spent a whopping $14.36 on Facebook ads and $16.98 on business cards and $214 on “fold cards.”
Lewis Conway raised $5.2k and spent $1.8k, including $41.11 at GameStop for “video game for volunteers to play while relaxing on break at office.” He also has numerous meetings listed at restaurants with consultants (e.g. $6.50 on 2/26 at Burger King) but has not paid any consultants yet.
Reedy Spigner just declared his candidacy the other day and hasn’t filed a report yet.