Where the money is
Here's a look at the amount of money raised by the nine City Commission candidates from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. Voters will narrow the field to six candidates during the primary a week from today. ¢ Rob Chestnut: $19,743.76 ($23,268 for the entire campaign*)¢ Mike Dever: $15,690.09 ($21,655 for the entire campaign*) ¢ Carey Maynard-Moody: $10,495¢ David Schauner: $9,202¢ James Bush: $6,660¢ Boog Highberger: $5,520.47Candidates Sam Fields, Michael Limburg and Jake Davis did not report raising any money during the time period. * Note: Chestnut and Dever both started accepting contributions prior to this 2007 reporting period. None of the other candidates did so.
Campaign finance reports
- James Bush campaignfinance report (.pdf)
- Rob Chestnutcampaign finance report (.pdf)
- Mike Devercampaign finance report (.pdf)
- Sam Fieldscampaign finance report (.pdf)
- BoogHighberger campaign finance report (.pdf)
- Michael Limburgcampaign finance report (.pdf)
- CareyMaynard-Moody campaign finance report (.pdf)
- David Schaunercampaign finance report (.pdf)
City commission race 2007
City commission race
- Students likely to skip voting (04-03-07)
- School board, City Commission elections today (04-03-07)
- Ideas for attracting jobs to Lawrence are offered (03-28-07)
- Iowa Street turn-lane project voted down (03-28-07)
- Job growth picture hazy (03-28-07)
- Chamber Vision & Election 2007
- Retail stance divides field (03-27-07)
- Dever, Chestnut still hold lead in campaign finance (03-27-07)
- Candidates split on domestic registry (03-27-07)
- Outlooks on retail issues differ (03-27-07)
- Candidate survey explores potential projects(03-23-07)
- More on the 2007 City Commission race Â»
The money is flowing now.
With a week remaining until the Lawrence City Commission primary election, two candidates already have raised more than $20,000 in contributions, which is equivalent to the amount many past candidates have spent for an entire campaign.
Campaign finance reports filed Monday with the county clerk's office showed that Rob Chestnut - the chief financial officer for Allen Press - has raised $23,268 since starting his campaign late last year. He raised $19,743 during the most recent 46-day reporting period, from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15.
Mike Dever, the owner of a Lawrence-based environmental consulting firm, was close behind with $21,655, including $15,690 received from 134 people during the most recent reporting period.
No candidate during the last City Commission election, in 2005, raised more than $11,000 during the January to mid-February reporting period.
Chestnut and Dever both said they thought the spike in campaign contributions was an indication of how disenchanted voters are with the current City Commission.
"I think it says that the community believes this is a very important election and there are a lot of people getting engaged in the process who haven't been involved in prior elections," said Chestnut, who listed 188 contributors on his most recent campaign finance report.
But other candidates are seizing on the fact that Chestnut and Dever received several large donations from members of the real estate and development community. A complete listing of contributors for each candidate is online at www.ljworld.com.
"My fear is that what their contributors will want in return for that investment is a development process that doesn't benefit the greater community," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who is running for re-election and raised $9,202 from 147 contributors. "I'm sure they're right that their contributors do want a change.
"They want at least three votes that will approve whatever comes before the commission. I'm not accusing anyone of selling their votes, but if I make a donation, I'm expecting like-mindedness from them or else I wouldn't throw $20,000 at them."
Dever - as he did at a campaign forum Thursday - took exception to Schauner's comments. He said a campaign contribution doesn't guarantee his support on any issue.
"I have noble intentions," Dever said. "If somebody is questioning my intentions, I have to question his. If he thinks I'm going to be influenced by my contributors, I wonder if he presumes that because he's influenced by his contributors."
Dever and Chestnut also said people were mistakenly being led to believe that all their donations were coming from the development community.
"I'm really thankful for a broad base of support," Chestnut said. "If you look at all my contributors, they are from all walks of life."
But concerns about the amount of special-interest money in the race were widespread among other candidates.
Commissioner Boog Highberger also expressed concerns Monday about the large amount of money being contributed to campaigns.
"I think there are some people with financial interests in the outcome of this election, and they really want to see a change," Highberger said.
Highberger raised the least amount of funds of any candidate actively seeking donations: $5,520. The report did not detail how many contributors he had because about $2,000 in donations was listed in a lump sum under the category of unitemized contributions less than $50.
Carey Maynard-Moody, a retired school social worker, said she was concerned about the amount of money being raised in the race.
"It is telling," Maynard-Moody said. "I think it speaks volumes and should be concerning. I think a lot of those donations represent deep pockets rather than the wider citizenry of Lawrence."
Maynard-Moody had the third-highest campaign contribution total in the race - although it was still less than half the second-place total - with $10,495 from 171 contributors.
Sam Fields, a local bail bondsman, accepted no donations during the period. He said he did not seek donations, in part, because he doesn't like the influence of special-interest money.
"I've learned everybody has their own fish to fry," Fields said. "I'm just going to try to be a strong-willed candidate."
Fields has spent about $4,500 of his own money on the race.
James Bush, a local pastor, checked in with the fifth-highest fundraising total in the race with $6,660 from 50 contributors.
Bush thinks there's a significant amount of money being contributed from people who are concerned about the city's progress.
"The message I'm hearing is that our growth has been hindered too much," Bush said. "There may have been some well-intended actions taken, but the outcome has been that growth has slowed to a near standstill."
School board reports not required yet
The eight candidates running for Lawrence's school board don't need to file campaign finance reports before the election, according to a county election official. They fall under the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission's "local guidelines," which say they don't have to file reports until 30 days after the April 3 election, said Keith Campbell, deputy of elections for Douglas County."Some of them have filed affidavits saying they won't spend more than $500 on their campaigns," Campbell said.Those include Mary Loveland, incumbent Rich Minder, Robert Rauktis, Victor Sisk and Michael Machell.Three candidates - Marlene Merrill, Michael Pomes and Scott Morgan - each filed reports declaring a treasurer, which means they anticipate spending more than $500, Campbell said.