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.