Compiling the candidates

So I spent this evening reading campaign expense reports. I don't usually do this, preferring to rely on the talents of those who are better with numbers. However, Will has his own finances to worry about this year, so I am having a go. ;-)

Here (and below) is a spreadsheet where we are compiling candidate information including finances and endorsements. What other information should it have?

Campaign finance data is from

A few of these reports didn't look right to me (Kevin Wolff spent $1,182.93 and has $1,182.93 cash on hand? Bill Strom's ad only cost $100!) but I did the best I could. Corrections are extremely welcome!



Thanks for the corrections, y'all. Can you help me out a little more, though? I am going by the Pre-Election reports listed on this page and I used the numbers in the "Total This Election Cycle" column (as opposed to the "Total This Reporting Period" column).

So, did I copy the numbers incorrectly, or are the reports not consistent with each other? I did notice that some campaigns used different methods of filling it out, but I can't really tell if htey are making errors or what.

Ruby, I actually don't have my "own finances to worry about this year".

I sat down early, figured out what I was willing to spend money on and raised approximately that amount (I could use a little more - say $120 - but can squeeze by without it). Irrespective of what Tom and Brian said, they were both wrong about my plans.

As far as cash on hand, my pre-election was $855.65 and I've raised a bit since. Expenditures of $14.92. Your numbers are off because I never closed my 2005 campaign and the load amount from that was carried forward.

Even though I knew I was going to be under $3000, I still filed reports.

So, if you use my pre-election,
the numbers are:

On hand: $855
Raised: $495
Spent: $14.92
Loan/self ; $0 2007

I could've done what Cam, etc. did and zeroed out my 2005 loan obligations by creating a new campaign. The delta between what I raised and have on-hand reflects money I raised after the 2005 election.

Here's what I posted in 2005 on my election day finances: $5.90 left as of Nov. 9th, 2005.

I have raised $4,002 in the first reporting period, 485 in the second so have raised $4487 through 10/22. My goal was to raise and spend under $5K (I beleive I will meet it). I had $103 on hand (left over from last time) so I am not sure what Will is talking about (not that it has any significance).
Your table seems to be a mishmash of the reports for just the second period and to date numbers.
This might not be so helpful if it is inaccurate.
Props to my treasurer, my 17 year old son, Cam.


Did you or did you not have a banner on your website for much of September stating a fundraising goal of $5,000? If you did, then I was not 'wrong about your plans.'

DTH endorsements for Carrboro:

While the Chamber of Commerce did not officially endorse candidates, they did say that Cook and Lavelle were attractice/good choices. Full commentary.

A total sweep for Lavelle among all the endorsing groups.

Once again the Chamber reveals their depth of commitment to Sustainability.

Tom, for about a week, when I was first gearing up, I thought I needed to raise a ton of bucks to try to beat the incumbency factor.

On reflection I realized a few things:

One, it would set a poor precedent not inline with my stated purpose to keep elections within the reach of most folks and to live within my means.

Two, if I bought more signs and plastered Town, as Bill has, they'd probably end up a major source of litter (as Bill and others have), a visual eyesore and be of diminishing value. Same for multiple mailings - borne out by my recent experience of getting double mailers from the "status quo slate" - which just ended up in the recycling.

Three, that money doesn't equal support, votes do - so I'm not buying into your and George's perverse argument that you have to raise oodles of bucks to be a legitimate candidate.

Four, it would take much more than $5,000 to beat this year's "mistake free" incumbents with "traditional means" even if I wanted to go that route, which I didn't anyway.

So, I changed my mind - got some price quotes for what I wanted to do - and fit my fund-raising to my expected expenditures. No big deal. Changed my site to reflect that decision.

Now, as much as you want to divert the discussion, what the heck does that have to do with the incumbents - notably Bill - raising huge bucks in spite of their previous assertions? Did they change their minds? Why did they?

Why almost $9,000? What was he afraid of?

Tom, you're all about political strategy, winning a seat no matter what - and maybe that's the best way to go - but I don't think an election is just about stomping the opposition anyway you can.

I was hoping this election would be an opportunity to educate and engage our community in an HONEST discussion about the issues before our Town. I'm proud of Matt's and Penny's efforts to broaden the discussion and bring new ideas to the table but, quite frankly, the incumbents held the upper hand - and I'd say responsibility - to help make this happen.

They didn't and the community is poorer for it.

"so I'm not buying into your and George's perverse argument that you have to raise oodles of bucks to be a legitimate candidate"


Can you remind me where I made that argument? I don't recall having ever done so but even if I did, by your own admission its an invalid argument and thus immaterial. Nonetheless, unless you have documentation supporting that assertion I would prefer not to have positions ascribed to me that I've not taken.

"Bill Strom raised as much money as he did because a large number of Chapel Hill citizens like the job he is doing as one of our Council members".

Did you not mean that money equals support?

GeorgeC, you have tried to spin what I've said on OP routinely but I have tried to honor your viewpoint and accurately reflect what you say.

You aren't practicing a bit of "do as I say, not do as I do?" are you?

Everyone, I am getting really sick of the bickering! I can't imagine how anyone who is less into local politics than I am can even stand it. Please consider the impact you are having on engagement by making the dialog so constantly bitter and repetitive.

I'm just pleading as an individual here, not as the editor. Have mercy.

“Bill Strom raised as much money as he did because a large number of Chapel Hill citizens like the job he is doing as one of our Council members”.


What I was saying is that Bill raised a lot of money because a lot of people like the job he is doing. And no, I did not mean that money can be equated with the total level of support because, as you well know, you could raise $9000 from 90 people or 9000 people. The final determination comes at the ballot box. However, I never said that you need a lot of money to run an effective campaign and, as someone who is well-versed in CH history and politics, you know that many of the best-funded campaigns in previous years failed. So I stand by my statement that I have not made the (perverse) argument that you need to raise oodles of bucks to be a legitimate candidate and I think Jim Ward is a great example of that. But I will also dispute your argument (if that is what you are doing) that raising oodles of bucks makes someone an illegitimate candidate.

Ruby, you're right. I'm tired of engaging with candidate's surrogates who don't want to answer on the issues directly.

I wish I could help with the campaign reports, but I'm sure that will earn me even more a drubbing, and, quite frankly, I'm just not interested in more of the Tom and George show - no matter how good the cause.

Whatever you think of my candidacy, I believe I've engaged as fully and directly with the local on-line community as possible but dealing with this continuing misdirection is just not fruitful.

I wish Cam, Bill, Sally, Jim and even Matt and Penny, had weighed-in on OP ,directly, in a substantive, reality-based discussion of the many issues before us.

I imagine that some of them were put off by the prospect of engaging on this particular site for various reasons - bias towards particular candidates be one - and that's a shame.

That said, I'm done.

thnx Ruby, I agree. Take the bickering to personal email duels. Also, would be good for all candidates who are reading the blog to note their expenditure to date, as Cam Hill did. I know I've been getting mailers from folks who aren't listed as having spent anything.

thnx Ruby, I agree: take the bickering to personal email duels. Also, would be good for all candidates who are reading the blog to note their expenditure to date, as Cam Hill did. I know I've been getting mailers from folks who are listed as having raised and spent nothing.

David, keep in mind that no report just means they plan to raise and spend less than $3,000.

Can somebody help me out with something here? (I mean this in earnest; this is not bickering or baiting.) Why is there such emphasis on how little our local candidates raise and spend? It seems to be some sort of item of pride that a candidate raises and spends as little as possible and still gets elected. It feels like a version of the old show "Name That Tune": "I can get elected by raising only four thousand dollars." "Oh yeah, well I can get elected by raising only thirty five hundred dollars!"

Where is the sin in raising money for a political campaign, or in spending it? If people believe a candidate will make a positive difference, why wouldn't they want to donate to a campaign? And if a candidate believes s/he'll make a positive difference, why wouldn't s/he want to spend money to persuade others of that?

I keep getting the sense that local politics here is supposed to be some form of highly public asceticism. I feel like I'm missing something.

Ruby I have raised a total of $4360.
$2060 is for the second report only.
My goal was to raise $4000. I have passed that by $360 and am still receiving donations.
Penny Rich

Thanks, Penny. I am looking at the "Total Receipts" and "Total Expenditures" rows in the "Total This Election Cycle" column. Am I doing it wrong? I understand that people account for their loans and therefore cash-on-hand differently, but this should be straightforward.

It's certainly very possible that I made a mistake, but no-one has pointed me to a different total to use on the form. It seems like you and Cam and others need to file corrections to your reports with the County. I can't just make charts based on what various individuals tell me.

You might be right Ruby. I will give Barry at the BOE a call to see if this needs to be corrected.

Ruby, I just spoke to Barry Garner and he said my report is fine. It is not mandatory on this report to include sum to date. Some are filing that way, others are filing the way I did. Both are correct. If you need more inforation contact barry@

If both ways are correct then A) what is the point of the “Total This Election Cycle” column, and B) how am I supposed to know which way each candidate is doing it?

It would sure rock if the county could make this data available in a simple spreadsheet instead of barely legible PDFs. Grrr.

In spite of my concerns about doing this, I have updated the matrix with the data reported by Will, Cam, and Penny above, with an additional tab indicating the numbers that were actually reported to the County. Anyone else want corrections?

I have also added the spreadsheet to the main election info page:

Video of the Democrat sponsored forum available:

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks to the People's Channel for providing the footage.

I raised and spent about $2,000 (don't have the exact figure in front of me). All of my donations were from Carrboro residents and were $100 or less - except one from Mike Nelson.

Mark C.,

Was Nelson's contribution from himself or his campaign?

His campaign.


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