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Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Jack Craver
One month from election, candidates report fundraising figures
Reports from each candidate for mayor and City Council were due at the Office of the City Clerk on Tuesday. Mayor Steve Adler reported raising nearly $140,000 for the latest time period. His total raised for the current race is more than $714,000, according to a press release from the campaign.
Laura Morrison, his major rival in the race, reported raising just over $25,500 during the same time frame. In her previous report, which was filed in July, Morrison reported raising more than $92,000 and loaning her campaign $28,000.
According to Adler’s report, he had more than $205,000 as of the last day of the reporting period, while Morrison’s report indicated that she had just about $39,000.
Todd Phelps, a conservative candidate, raised $5,093, spent about $1,231.66 and had $3,861.34 left. Travis Duncan received no monetary contributions but reported $370 in “in-kind” contributions from three people who provided flyers for his quixotic campaign.
In the seven-person race to succeed retiring Council Member Ora Houston, Vincent Harding is way ahead of the pack, reporting over $25,200 raised, almost exactly the same amount he raised during the previous three-month reporting period. Due to the two periods of hefty fundraising, Harding’s campaign was able to spend $29,661 during the most recent period and still have $29,858 left for the final five weeks of the campaign.
The next biggest haul came from Reedy Spigner, who jumped in the race on Aug. 10, long after most of the other candidates. In the first month and a half of his campaign, Spigner raised $9,167. He only spent $1,962 and had $5,518 on hand at the end.
In third place was Natasha Harper-Madison, who raised $7,489, bringing her total for the year to just under $19,000. In the most recent period she spent $14,878, leaving her with $3,574 on hand.
Mariana Salazar raised $5,844, bringing her year total to just under $13,000. Salazar spent $4,704 in the most recent period and had $4,611 left in her account.
Mitrah Avini, a late entrant to the race, raised $3,775, spent $549 and had $2,551 on hand.
Misael Ramos, a write-in candidate, reported $220 in contributions but no other information.
Lewis Conway Jr., who raised nearly $5,200 in the previous reporting period, had not filed his most recent campaign finance report as of Wednesday.
In his bid to win re-election, Council Member Pio Renteria benefited from a major influx of contributions in the past three months that put him head and shoulders above the three candidates challenging him. Renteria raised $44,425, bringing his year total to roughly $71,000. During the same period Renteria spent $29,622, leaving his campaign with just over $43,000 in the bank.
Coming in second place was Susana Almanza, who is Renteria’s sister and the candidate he bested in a runoff election four years ago. Almanza announced her candidacy late this time, entering the race at the beginning of August. Since then, she raised $8,469 and spent $3,248, leaving her with $5,059 on hand.
After nearly matching Renteria with an impressive haul of $26,350 in the last reporting period, candidate James Valadez only raised $6,218 in the most recent period. He also only spent $3,104, meaning he had $29,385 left on hand.
Candidate Jessica Cohen only raised $133, spent $289 and reported no funds left.
Council Member Ann Kitchen did not draw an opponent in her bid for re-election, but she nevertheless raised $3,550 in the most recent period, far less than the $31,995 she raised during the previous period, when it was not yet clear that she would be unopposed. She also spent $4,294 and had $31,332 on hand.
Council Member Ellen Troxclair, the only person left on the dais with ties to the GOP, is not running for re-election but has endorsed Frank Ward III, a fellow conservative. Ward, who declared his candidacy in late July, after the last fundraising period was over, reported raising $33,442 this period. He spent $19,411 and had $15,193 left on hand.
Among the three liberal candidates running, Rich DePalma leads the pack. DePalma raised $21,520 for a total this year of roughly $49,400. He spent $12,740 and had $35,551 on hand.
Bobby Levinski saw his fundraising plummet from $26,170 in the previous period to only $7,260 in the most recent one. His campaign spent $4,008, leaving it with $32,755 left.
Paige Ellis raised $4,171, down slightly from the $6,200 she raised in the previous period. She spent $3,100 and had $13,576 left on hand.
Challenger Danielle Skidmore raised three times as much as incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who is campaigning to hold on to the seat. Skidmore reported $36,615 in contributions, bringing her year total to roughly $83,700. Skidmore spent $24,133 during the period and had $46,819 left on hand.
Tovo only raised $12,676, far less than the $41,591 she raised in the previous reporting period. She spent $17,371 and had just under $16,000 left in the bank. In her past two races, Tovo has relied on her personal wealth to fund her campaigns. In 2014 she lent her campaign over $100,000.
Jo Clifton contributed to this report.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.