They spent HOW MUCH?

I've had several people contact me and ask for a post about the final 2007 campaign finance figures. (And yet none of them offerred to write it themselves, hmmm.) The results are pretty interesting. The Independent Weekly wrote a summary including Chapel Hill.

He placed fourth in the race, but first in cash: Council challenger Matt Czajkowski spent at least $20,000 in the election cycle—more than fellow candidates Sally Greene, Cam Hill and Bill Strom combined. Ninety percent came from Czajkowski's own pocket, via $17,750 in self-loans.

Czajkowski came in fourth in the seven-person race for four seats, squeaking by incumbent Hill by 63 votes.

In total, Strom raised $9,380 and spent $6,497; Greene raised $7,881 and spent $5,669; and Hill raised $5,485 and spent $5,566 (he had cash on hand from his 2003 race). Top vote-getter and incumbent Jim Ward, who pledged not to spend more than $3,000, had not submitted a final report as of Jan. 29.

- Elections 2007: Cakewalks and catfights, 1/30/08

As usual, the county offers this data online as inconsistent and difficult-to-read PDFs*, so I will attempt yet another stumble through the numbers...

Hardly any Carrboro or city School Board candidates reported - they were presumably all under the $3,000 threshold, so those numbers aren't very interesting. Successful Carrboro challenger Lydia Lavelle spent $2.62 per vote, which is clearly on the high side. School Board member Anetta Streeter and challenger Mia Burroughs both spent about $0.75 per vote. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy spent $0.42 per vote to keep his seat.

In the Chapel Hill Town Council race, everyone reported except for Jim Ward. I think he spent considerably less than the requirement for reporting, but I used the max of $3,000 to calculate the most his cost per vote could have been. (Winners in bold.)

CandidateVotesPlaceOn handRaisedSpentcost/vote
Jim Ward (i)3,9291


<$0.76
Sally Greene (i)3,9172$3,176$7,680$5,669$1.45
Bill Strom (i)3,7353$3,749$9,380$6,497$1.74
Matt Czajkowski2,9324$411$20,278$20,688$7.06
Cam Hill (i)2,8725$2$5,465$5,566$1.94
Penny Rich2,4426$455$4,360$3,905$1.60
Will Raymond1,4097$3,962$3,283$2,062$1.46

Check my work: Here's my spreadsheet, please correct as needed!

* By the way, I know the numbers don't appear to add up. Every candidate seems to have their own accounting system and some (whose last name I can't spell) didn't even bother to fill in all of the important totals on the form! I have done the best I can with information available, which consists of paper submissions which appear to have been run over several times before being scanned and posted online. Would it be too much to ask the County Board of elections to enter the data into a computer so that it could be posted in a more legible and useful format? I'm sure some candidates would also appreciate the ability to file reports online instead of on paper.

So, what did we learn here? I still believe what I said last fall: "Money doesn't drive politics in Orange County the way it does in almost every other place in the country." But apparently enough of it can give you quite the leg up!

Issues: 

Total votes: 158

Comments

If you worked for one of these campaigns and you think the info above is wrong, please post a statement of the correct figures either here or on any other public web site. It is not acceptable to privately e-mail me the figures, and I won't use information that is not available to the rest of the community. Kthxbai.
Has anyone heard anything from the Mayor's Committee on Campaign Finance yet? I hope the last cycle's campaign expeditures aren't going to set a trend. In Chapel Hill, I'm not so concerned about expenditures making a particular candidate beholden to this or that special interest so much as I am seeing people without thousands of dollars to give themselves, or without rich friends and richer relatives being priced out of competing. I have a lot of respect for Jim running completely on his record and not a formal campaign, but that's not something a challenger would ever have the chance of doing.

I am the Treasurer for Sally Greene’s committee “Grassroots for Greene”.

Firstly, the Board of Elections appears to have posted a duplicate of Sally’s Pre-Election Report (covering 9/26/08 through 10/22/08) under the Year-End Report link. (I will get them to fix that on Monday. I checked the other candidate reports and they are all correct). The correct figures from the true Year-End Report are:

Total Cash on Hand: $3175.68

Total Contributions: $7680.00

Total Expenditures: $5669.29

This gives Sally a true cost per vote of $1.45.

I also updated your spreadsheet with Sally’s correct figures - see http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pvd-HgHhpnqYUjHTBQICQJA

Regarding the Board of Elections – they have a thankless and tedious job which they do very well. Most campaigns fill their forms out by hand because the software provided (free) by the state BoE is clunky and difficult to use. I do use it but it’s a work in progress. When reports are filed electronically, the Orange BoE prints the forms anyway, and these are scanned to create the PDF’s for the website. I don’t suppose they or the state BoE have a big IT budget, so this is not likely to change. In any case, there is justifiable paranoia about the auditability of purely electronic filing.

It’s also true that the minutia of Campaign Finance law are tedious in the extreme, and the details are far from intuitive. This could explain the variations you noted between candidates reports and occasional blank entries.

Thank you, John. I've updated the table above accordingly.

I think think the BOE could sit down for one hour each quarter and type in these numbers so they could be posted online legibly...

Jason,

 

The Council VOE committee has been working, with lots of help from the State BOE, to craft a draft VOE program. Something will be coming back for committee discussion very soon. Of course, this first draft-plan may ultimately look nothing like what is eventually adopted. The goal is to get some ideas together with some suggestions for how our VOE will work. The process will include opportunity for lots of public input.

The committee is working toward a goal of having a plan adopted prior to Council's summer recess.

Hi everybody,

I can accept Matt's Czajkowski's logic that it costs money for a serious challenger

to overcome his lack of name recognition. But to hold a 6,000-dollar

<>party at our most-expensive restaurant, paid for by campaign contributions is simply in-your-face arrogance. How many of Matt's contributors knew in advance that he would

throw this party, and if they had known, how many would

have contributed? I'll bet that Matt did not ask for contributions

in this manner: Please contribute money to my campaign,

<>with the knowledge that 30 pct of your contributions (6K of 20K) will

<>fund such a party.

 

Mark Kleinschmidt, I applaud your efforts toward public campaign

financing, and I hope that your proposal contains

<>some condition that would prohibit such a use of town taxpayer's funds.

The expense is even weirder when you realize he spent 3 times more on a "fundraising" party than he got in donations over the entire campaign.

I know that challengers are at a disadvantage when it comes to fundraising, but any legit candidate can easily raise at least $5,000 from actual donors if they reach out. (I know because I did it myself, and I was not a very strong candidate.)

I have not talked with Matt about this so this is a picture sketched by me only!

1. You decide to run and you are not known politically, i.e., you are not a "Ruby" or part of some coalition.

2. You spend your time trying to get your message out and offer yourself as a candidate of change (sound familiar?).

3. You have some money and since you are an unknown, you only ask those you really know for money.

4. You win the 4th seat!

5. You have a nice party and ask folks to contribute as they are so moved to do; people don't know how much you are in the hole personally.

6. An article come out in the paper that tells people the situation; others may now send you checks because they now know!

Additionally, the problem with this entire fundraising thing is that the numbers at the top of this thread never capture that which is spent on someones' behalf and not part of the campaign committee. It also doesn't reflect the multiplier effect when you have to run against a coalition of five - yes, five, four council candidates and a mayor who extends his coattails for the other four. How do you measure that for a State BOE report?

Every plan that I have seen thus far on funding elections has no mechanism to control or account and/or control for non-candidate spending . I also want to know how much was raised, from whom and how it was spent, but I think these plans will never close the outside of the campaign loopholes.

Yes, being known matters, being an incumbent matters more, and being part of an incumbent coalition can matter MUCH MORE if the political circumstances and balance between the incumbents and the challengers favors the coalition. We saw a challenger win, but as Terri says above, look at what it took!

Did those who have defeated incumbents in prior elections also have to spend more to do so?

 

Joe, in Dan Goldberg's article Saturday in the CHH, he reported: "According to his report, $17,750 came out of Czajkowski's own pocket including $5,979.17 for a December "victory party and fundraiser" at Chapel Hill restaurant La Residence.

What impact does that have on those of us who contributed. There are other issues you could raise but I don't think the one you selected is the right one. He mainly paid for his victory, and BTW, it was a really, really nice party. Some might even call it the "Czajkowski economic stimulus package."

The fact that it took funding 7 times higher than the incumbents to win a very slim margin is of way more concern to me than one candidates party. Can't wait to see the VOE in place.
that money spent has a direct correlation to electoral success. I don't think we have any proof of that. Actually we have some proof that there often may not be a direct correlation. Overall, as Fred said, it is quite an "economic stimulus package".

Way back in 1994, I worked on a little thing called AIDSWALK Washington. It was run out of the Whitman-Walker Clinic by two of my colleagues. One is now dead of AIDS and I am not sure about whatever happened to the other.

However, the Director of Development made it a point to keep a tight reign on expenses which meant that it raised $1.2 Million and they spent a little over $200,000. This was a direct result of the work of John and John - the organizers and Donald Hense, the Director of Development. This event was an exception.

As many of you know, most fundraising events - many of the AIDS Rides come to mind - actually lose money. Usually, this is not a sinister plot to steal from the donors. It usually is a result of inexperience in managing that kind of event. I don't believe the AIDS Ride folks were bad folks, it just took a lot more to run a race than they thought it would. The anti-gay media was very quick to sharpen the knives, if I remember correctly.

As I have been told before and I will freely admit, I am not an expert here. Of course, I was once told by "experts" circa 1995 that Fundraising and the Internet were incompatible.

I think Ruby and the other folks here are right to ask the question.

However, as someone who has worked for many non-profits with varying agendas and fund raising success, I can tell you that it is very difficult to make money on events.

I don't really have an interest in this fight other than to flip the argument.

I think it is fair to ask why a person would have to spend 7 times that of some incumbents to succeed in a free and open election. This isn't just a Chapel Hill problem. We are microcosm of the National problem.

I have said in another forum - As Chapel Hill Goes, So Goes the Nation. Change simply doesn't come cheap. As a Democrat, I hope that my party is willing to spend what is necessary to make it happen this fall.

 

--Freedom is not just another word

 

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