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Riordan leads Lawrence City Commission candidate field in fundraising, new reports show


UPDATE: Since I wrote this article this morning, Jeremy Farmer's campaign has provided me with a copy of his campaign finance report. It places him in second place in total amount of money raised during the Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 time period. I've added his totals to the list below.

The doctor has the prescription for fundraising.

The first deadline of the year for campaign finance reports for Lawrence City Commission candidates was Monday, and Terry Riordan — a longtime pediatrician — was the runaway leader.

Riordan raised $11,265 from about 84 donors, which was more than double the amount any other candidate raised during the reporting period. But Riordan didn’t stop there. The doctor also loaned his campaign $9,100, giving it $20,365 in contributions for the reporting period.

Riordan is a first-time candidate but he has an experienced team of volunteers running his campaign. Many of the same people who worked on the campaign for Mayor Bob Schumm — who was the top vote winner in the last City Commission election — are working on Riordan’s campaign.

The latest numbers show there's plenty of competitiveness in this year’s race — and a good deal of open wallets. Scott Criqui, an executive with Trinity Home Care, raised $4,550 from contributors during the period. Technically that amount is good for the third-highest amount of money raised during the reporting period, which covered donations made from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14.

But there is a sizable caveat to those numbers. Criqui got his campaign started so early that he did significant fundraising in 2012. A separate report for his 2012 activity shows he raised another $8,092. In addition, Criqui also is dipping into his own wallet for the race. He has donated $2,600 to his campaign.

Here’s a look at the numbers for the entire field. The contributions listed are just for the Jan. 1 through Feb. 14 reporting period:

• Riordan: $11,265 from 84 donors. (Plus $9,100 from Riordan)

• Farmer, executive director of Just Food: $7,785 from 54 named donors. (Plus $900 from Farmer. Also, of the $7,785 raised, $560 came from donors of $50 or less, which state law does not require to be itemized. So, in addition to the 54 named donors, Farmer had at least another 10 donors or more.)

• Mike Amyx, Lawrence city commissioners and barber shop owner: $4,610 from 49 donors.

• Criqui: $4,550 from 65 donors. (Plus $1,500 from Criqui)

• Rob Chestnut, chief financial officer for a Topeka publishing company and former city commissioner: $4,536 from 40 donors

• Judy Bellome, retired executive of Visiting Nurses Association: $3,690 from 43 donors.

• Leslie Soden, owner of a Lawrence pet care business: $2,695 from 15 named donors. (Of the $2,695 raised, $995 came from donors of $50 or less, which state law does not require to be itemized. So, in addition to the 15 named donors, Soden also had at least another 19 donors or more.)

• Reese Hays, an attorney for the Kansas Board of Healing Arts: $690 from six donors. (Plus $331 from Hays)

• William Olson, a Lawrence bar manager: $0

• Michael Rost, a Topeka insurance attorney: $0

The Douglas County Clerk’s office hadn’t received reports from two candidates — Jeremy Farmer and Nicholas Marlo — by this morning.

Marlo has not run an active campaign, but Farmer — the executive director for Just Food — has. It will be worth watching what his fundraising totals are.

I have covered a lot of Lawrence City Commission elections, and I generally pay close attention to the amount of money raised. I watch the numbers not because I think having a lot of money to spend in a local campaign makes a big difference. Instead, I watch them because donor numbers are a good indicator of the size and enthusiasm of a candidate’s base of support.

These numbers show we have an interesting primary shaping up. It appears there are at least seven candidates that are making a serious effort to raise funds. Only six of them will advance through the primary, which will be held next Tuesday, Feb. 26.

The more interesting numbers will be released in March, when candidates are required to file fundraising reports for the critical February and March time periods. Those will come just a few days before the April 2 election, and usually are a good gauge of how the race is shaping up.

At the moment, it is clear that three candidates — Riordan, Criqui and Farmer— have an early lead in fundraising. But the two candidates with perhaps the most natural name recognition because of their time on the commission — Chestnut and Amyx — are in that next group of candidates. It appears the coming weeks will be full of competitive campaigning.


MichaelARost 5 years ago

And just so the records clear. I'm not taking any campaign contributions. My $0 total does not relect a lack of effort or support.

irvan moore 5 years ago

one of the advantages of having money is that you probably have friends with money too so i don't think it is a true indicator of support or enthusiasm

Keith 5 years ago

In addition to total dollars raised, the source of those dollars also can inform the electorate. Is there a link available to these reports you're referencing?

MMorton 5 years ago

Read the reports, beatnik, all the candidates are raising this money $25, $50 and $100 at a time. Not a lot of folks are giving too much more than that. This is about who wants it the most.

We'll see who is cutting who those max level checks in the general, though.

Good work, Dr. Riordan!

irvan moore 5 years ago

it wasn't criticism of dr. riordan, i think he's ok, i just think if you divide the $11,265. by the 84 donors some of the checks seem to be a little larger than the amounts you are refering to most people giving

5 years ago

Hi Chad, looks like I have had 54 donors grand total so far. Thanks! Leslie Soden

Mass1999 5 years ago

I will not be voting for Farmer now. Why would anyone vote for someone who cannot manage the simple task of filing his report on time? I would hope that anyone running for City Commission would be more responsible.

letsbehonest 5 years ago

And you would vote for someone who apparently uses his connections (Riordan) to perhaps "buy" his way into a county seat?

Mass1999 5 years ago

No- I wouldn't vote for that either

letsbehonest 5 years ago

I sincerely hope that the people in this town realize that the amount of money one has, the house that they live in, or what their name happens to be, does not mean that they are the best person for the job that this city needs. Riordan is indeed part of the "good 'ol boys club." He has money and surrounds himself with people with money. He and Schumm have been friends for years and Riordan's seeking election to city commission will truly be of most benefit to them both. Riordan and Schumm are more worried about themselves and out of touch with most of the citizens of Lawrence. These people make decisions based on how it will effect them personally, not necessarily what is best for the city. This town needs to wake up and elect individuals who are more in touch with reality. Lastly, as for name recognition, it is not always a good thing. Does the name Bush (George W.) ring any bells? Wake up Lawrence!

MMorton 5 years ago

Comparisons to GW? Well, that escalated quickly.

Keep in mind that Riordan has spent the last thirty years helping families (my own included) make some of the toughest decisions imaginable related to the welfare of their children and overall quality of life. I'd say he's one of the few candidates that deals with some pretty ugly realities on a daily basis, as a pediatrician and as a business owner.

asixbury 5 years ago

Terry Riordan is an upstanding man and will definitely get my vote. Is there any actual evidence of him being otherwise?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Those with not as much money is no indicator they will not be the best choices. In fact that could well be the indicator of no special interests involved. Which is among the reasons I believe that Rost and Soden should be among the top six. I'm willing to go with Criqui as well.

It does seem to me that Riordan had an inclination to support the building/real estate industry as a planning commissioner. Which makes his politics a lot like what we are getting now. Amyx and Chestnut are there as well. The Planning Commission is quite political. My rule of thumb in elections is bring on new faces or else expect to get more of the same.

Mass1999 5 years ago

Hays is the one who brought up changing the policy of "back door deals" and suggested making all the contracts public- which seems to be catching on- I do agree we need new faces- I like Rost and Hays.

letsbehonest 5 years ago

I am not saying that he is not a good physician, because he is. But people need to put that out of their minds and think about the issues facing the city as a whole.

letsbehonest 5 years ago

And the Bush statement is just meant to get people thinking that name recognition does not mean much more than the simple fact that a name is just a name.

Prairielander 5 years ago

Aren't all city contracts are already available through the Kansas Open Records Act? Are Rost and Hayes asking that contracts are made public prior to being signed?

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