Jim Carpenter, the fifth-place finisher in the March 1 primary, is making a strong financial push to win one of three at-large seats on the Lawrence City Commission.
Carpenter was the top money-raiser in the field for the period between Feb. 18 and March 24, during which he raised $7,914. Carpenter said the contributions were evidence his fifth-place finish in the March 1 primary was not indicative of his overall support.
"The voter turnout was so low, and we had only had one forum," said Carpenter, a self-employed attorney. "It was hard for people to be able to compare candidates. It was just all name recognition during the primary. Now I think people are getting to know the candidates better."
Mike Amyx, a downtown barber shop owner and the top vote winner in the primary, was right on Carpenter's heels with $7,750 in contributions. Incumbent David Schauner, the third-place finisher in the primary, was third with $7,236. Incumbent Sue Hack, the second-place finisher in the primary, raised $4,220. School district administrator Tom Bracciano, the fourth-place finisher in the primary, raised $4,195.
Bracciano said he's not convinced this latest round of campaign contributions are a good predictor of success at the polls.
"We raised a pretty good amount of money earlier in the campaign," Bracciano said. "Now is when we're knocking on doors and trying to get the vote out. The money is not that big of a concern to me at this point."
The financial pictures for the candidates do change when all the contributions from the beginning of the campaigns are added together. Overall fund-raising levels for the campaigns: Amyx, $17,390; Schauner, $15,141; Hack, $14,704; Bracciano, $13,308; and Carpenter, $12,803.
As for major contributors during the most recent reporting period, Carpenter received a $500 donation from Emily Russell and Joe Hollowell of rural Lawrence. Schauner's top donation was a $470 contribution from the Progressive Lawrence Campaign, a Lawrence political action committee that is supporting both Schauner and Carpenter. Amyx, Bracciano and Hack's top contributor each was the political action committee of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 763. The union gave $500 to each of the three campaigns.
George Grieb, a local electrician who finished sixth in the primary but announced March 8 that he was dropping from the race, also filed a campaign finance report. He raised $5,385 during the period. He used the money to pay off campaign debts, including a $5,500 payment to himself to partially repay a $10,000 loan that he had made to the campaign in February.
Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose three candidates for the commission.