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In cash on hand, its Leffingwell, McCracken, then Strayhorn

Friday, April 10, 2009 by Austin Monitor

The big surprise when mayoral candidates turned in their campaign finance reports on Thursday was that the Carole Keeton Strayhorn fundraising juggernaut failed to materialize, and that with $80,000 cash on hand she lagged behind both Lee Leffingwell—who leads in overall funds because he loaned himself $100,000—and behind Brewster McCracken, who topped all other candidates in total funds raised.


Leffingwell raised about $128,000 and loaned himself another $100,000. He has spent about $91,000 leaving him with $136,170 as of the end of the reporting period.


McCracken has raised a total of $237,000, almost all of it coming after the Jan. 15 reporting date. He has spent $135,000 so far, leaving him nearly $102,000 cash on hand for the final stretch.


While that may sound like a lot of money, it’s small potatoes for candidates trying to buy enough TV time to get voters to the polls. Early Voting starts on April 27 and conventional wisdom says there will be very few political commercials airing before April 22. Candidates will want to be on the air throughout the early voting period and right up to Election Day, May 9.


McCracken’s contributors include Jeb Boyt, Stacy Oliver, John Rosato, Larry Warshaw, Jeanie Wiginton and Johanna Zmud. Bundlers, folks raising money for McCracken, include Trey Salinas, Brad Schlosser, Bill Reagan and Dan Pearson.


Strayhorn has raised a little more than $143,000 for her campaign, the last $100,000 coming after Jan. 15. The former mayor and former State Comptroller has spent $52,000 so far, leaving her about $80,000 to start the final month.


Strayhorn had few organizational endorsements, but a long list on individual contributors. Notable among them was Ben Barnes, Brown McCarroll LLC, Austin Home Builders Association, Bobby Inman, Marc Katz, Bob Larson and Alan Sager. Strayhorn also donated some $6,700 to her own campaign.


Her bundlers include Richard Anderson, Mollie Francis, Gabe Krajicek, Jay Stewart and Daniel Wimmer of Austin and E.J. Pederson of Galveston.


Most of Strayhorn’s expenses were for office and campaign supplies but she also made two sizeable payments to The Bass Group consultants.


Leffingwell, who got a late start raising funds because of uncertainty over setting the special election to fill his seat, has raised $128,000 and loaned himself an additional $100,000. He has spent $91,000, leaving him $136,000 with 30 days to go.


Leffingwell, the self-proclaimed winner of the endorsement battle in the Mayor’s race, received a lot of support from organizations such as the Austin-Travis County EMS Association, the Austin Police Association PAC, and the Austin Firefighters Association PAC.


Individual donors included several members of the city’s boards and commissions, one current and one former Council member, and several other familiar political names, including Saundra Kirk, Brigid Shea, Mike Martinez,  Gerard Acuña, Dave Anderson, Cathy Bonner,  Danette Chimenti, George Christian and Perry Lorenz.


Most of Leffingwell’s expenses have gone for a variety of consultants and research companies, in addition to the usual office and campaign event expenses.


Other candidates for Mayor included David Buttross, who has raised more than  $30,000 and Josiah Ingalls, who reported raising about $600.

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