Update at 5 p.m. with Bowers donor information.
Yesterday marked the deadline for candidates and elected officials to file campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2012.
The reports didn’t appear until after I left work last night, however, so I didn’t get to see them until this morning.
For a political reporter, campaign finance reports offer a glimpse behind the curtain. I can see the outward signs of the campaigns in my daily routine — which neighborhoods are sporting who’s yard signs in numbers; who’s got the money to advertise on Valley Metro buses, run radio ads and send out glossy mailers. But the reports show who is giving the money behind those outward signs, as well as exactly how the campaigns are spending it.
In the first quarter, Bowers raised $74,700 in contributions and took another $8,000 in loans for a total of $82,700. He spent $69,307 and ended the period with a little more than $13,000 in cash on hand. Keep in mind this period also included his primary against Sam Rasoul.
The one thing missing from Bowers report right now is the Schedule A form. That lists the contributors who donated $100 or more. From his Statement of Funds, we can see that 59 different people or organizations contributed $69,050 — but until the Schedule A form shows up on the State Board of Election’s site, we can’t tell who those people or organizations are. I’ll try to post an update when that form goes up, or if I can obtain a copy from the Bowers campaign.
Update: Schedule A now appears on Bowers’ report. He’s got a series of donors who’ve given donations ranging between $100 and $1,000 — but the two big contributions that jump out come from Peter Via. He gave Bowers $25,000 during his primary contest against Rasoul, and he contributed another $25,000 to Bowers on March 22. Those two contributions alone account for $50,000, which nearly matches Lucas’ total all by itself.
As with Lucas, you can go to Bowers’ report to check out the complete list.
Lucas, meanwhile, raised $55,935 and spent $20,062 so he’s had just under $36,000 in cash on hand on March 31. He also received a fair share of contributors giving more than $100, raising $41,410 from 60 people or organization, as well as $10,000 in the form of “in-kind” contributions in the form of strategy and operational help from city Republicans Chris Walters and Adam Boitnott, who are serving more or less as campaign staff.
Tonight, Bowers and Lucas will debate at the Claude Moore Center at 109 Henry Street in an event moderated by Jay Warren of WSLS-Channel 10 and hosted by the Roanoke Branch NAACP. The debate begins at 7 p.m.
Two years ago, the NAACP debate with Warren moderating was by far the most chippy and contentious of all the council candidate forums. Of course, that debate included Bob Craig, Ray Ferris and Mike Powell — none of whom hesitated to throw verbal punches at each another when campaigning — but Warren also contributed by allowing and even encouraging the candidates to engage each other directly at times.
I’ll be posting live tweets (my Twitter handle is MasonAdamsRT if you want to follow me there) from the debate if you can’t make it but want to follow along, or you can just look for the story tomorrow.
– Mason Adams