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Leffingwell raises twice as much as opponent Brigid Shea

Friday, April 13, 2012 by Michael Kanin

There were no huge surprises as the candidates for seats on the Austin City Council turned in their 30-day fundraising reports yesterday. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was out in front of all candidates with nearly $150,000 in contributions collected since January. Opponent Brigid Shea raised less than half that amount.


Leffingwell has reported collecting $236,000 in total for this campaign and had roughly $105,000 in the bank as of April 2.


Leffingwell’s opponents in the Mayoral race were not quite as productive. Former Council Member Brigid Shea pulled in roughly $70,000, including a $25,000 loan she made to the campaign last week. Long-shot rightwing activist Clay Dafoe raised just $1,165, including a $630 loan.


The campaign reported receiving contributions from 650 individuals, with less than half of those contributing the maximum $350. “I am very honored to have received the support of so many Austinites. We will have the resources available to communicate with the voters about our record and our vision for Austin’s future,” said Leffingwell.


Although Leffingwell took in far more than any other candidate, high dollar amounts are typical in the race for Mayor. Six years ago, incumbent Mayor Will Wynn raised about $126,000 during the first three months of 2006. His most serious challenger was another Council Member, Danny Thomas. 


In other races, Council Member Mike Martinez brought in just over $85,000 for the period. His total for this campaign is about $155,000. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole reported about $66,000 in contributions, bringing her total raised for this race to $120,000. Neither Cole nor Martinez loaned their campaigns any money. Leffingwell continued to carry a loan balance of roughly $61,000 that dates from 2009.


Martinez’ opponent Laura Pressley raised just over $30,000. Pressley has spent nearly all of that sum, and reports having just $4,100 on hand. Cole’s opponent Shaun Ireland had not filed his report late Thursday.


In his report, Leffingwell claimed 11 bundlers. Among those were Don Reese, an investor in development firm Riverside Resources, attorney and lobbyist Nikelle Meade, and former Travis County Attorney Ken Oden. Others helping Leffingwell include Dallas area engineer Pete Patel, lobbyists Scott Dunaway and Mary Scott Nabers, as well as Denise Garcia, executive director of the Austin Hotel and Lodging Association, Amanda DeAngelis, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies TexasCentral Texas chapter, Paul Kim, president of the Korean American Association of Greater Austin and developer Richard Anderson. 


Notably absent from this list was veteran operative David Armbrust. Armbrust told In Fact Daily that he’d stepped away from bundling for this election cycle although he is still encouraging contributions. His name appeared as a bundler for all the incumbents in a previous filing. Shea used the fact to criticize Armbrust and other lobbyists who raise money for candidates, as well as her opponent, proposing tighter regulation of those who bring in campaign contributions.


Shea listed consultant Diane Hyatt as her only bundler. Dafoe had no bundlers.


Martinez listed eight bundlers. These include Meade, Garcia, DeAngilis, and engineer Sam Kumar from Leffingwell’s list. Other Martinez bundlers included lobbyist Snapper Carr, businessman Andy Ramirez, hospitality firm Delaware North regional director Terry Mahlum, and developer Brad Schlosser. Both Bobby Garza and Laura Williamson – current Martinez staffers – received a salary from the campaign.


Martinez challenger Laura Pressley did not list any bundlers in her campaign finance filing.


Cole listed five bundlers. They include Meade and fellow lobbyists Jed Buie and Jeff Howard, the Downtown Austin Alliance‘s Charlie Betts, and engineer Garabed Harutunian.


Council elections are set for May 12.

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