TRAVERSE CITY — Five candidates for city commission raised a combined $27,500-plus in hopes of snaring one of three open seats that will pay them $4,335 annually.
Commission hopeful Gary Howe, relying chiefly on social media and Internet solicitations, raised the most — $8,502 — as of Oct. 20, including $1,000 of his own money. He spent a little over half that amount and held about $4,000 for a final push.
“I feel good,” said Howe, who exceeded his planned budget by $2,000. “We had 123 donors and many showed a lot of support from the get-go and that helped energize me.”
Jan Warren raised $6,100, including $2,000 of her own money. She was down to $9.95 in her campaign account on Oct. 20. Her strategy was to get her name out early and often so absentee voters would be familiar with her candidacy, she said.
Ross Richardson followed a similar strategy: he raised $6,055 and spent all but $612 by the Oct. 20 filing deadline. Richardson said that money already is gone and he expects to spend another several hundred dollars from his own pocket beyond the $1,600 he’s already contributed.
Most of the candidates who raised in excess of $1,000 expected to continue stuffing mailboxes and spending more in days leading up to Tuesday’s election.
Patrick McGuire raised $4,715, including $1,500 of his own money, and spent $4,063 by Oct. 20, while candidate Tim Werner raised $2,147, of which the majority, $1,501, came from his own pocket.
Of the mayoral candidates, the incumbent and challenger occupy the other end of the fundraising spectrum.
Incumbent Mayor Michael Estes and challenger Rick Buckhalter filed campaign finance waivers in which they pledged to spend less than $1,000. John Reid, who filed as a write-in candidate for mayor and whose name also will appear on the ballot as a candidate for city commission, also filed a waiver.
Two-term incumbent Jody Bergman also filed a waiver, but spent about $900.