Campaign finance reports released for Columbia City Council hopefuls

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | 8:48 p.m. CDT; updated 10:27 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 29, 2011

COLUMBIA — Columbia City Council candidates filed campaign finance reports Monday, revealing a large spending gap between candidates for the First and Fifth wards.

“Let’s face it; the First Ward is the poor ward compared to the Fifth,” First Ward candidate Mitch Richards said. “So less people are going to be able to throw up money for political campaigns.”

Glen Ehrhardt and Helen Anthony, the Fifth Ward candidates, have each spent more money alone than their First Ward counterparts combined.

Ehrhardt has run the most expensive campaign, spending $13,766, which is $11,534 more than his Feb. 24 finance report showed.

Ehrhardt’s treasurer, Kee Groshong, said most of that money was channeled into advertising, signs and campaign literature. Ehrhardt spent more than $4,400 on advertising through a number of media groups:

  • Cumulus Media
  • Zimmer Radio Group
  • OutFront Communication LLC

Anthony has spent $11,722 on her campaign, investing $1,134 in advertising in the Columbia Daily Tribune and nearly $1,000 on campaign signs.

Fred Schmidt spent the most among First Ward candidates, running a campaign that has cost $5,769, with most of the money funneled to Midwest Mailing Service for campaign materials.

The numbers free-fall from there.

Mitch Richards is running a relatively inexpensive campaign with a tab of a little more than $1,000. His largest expenditure was on campaign signs that can be seen throughout the First Ward.

Signs, though, aren’t the essence of a campaign.

“You need some name recognition, and I didn’t have that,” Richards said. “But signs aren’t a substitute for substance. You still need ideas.”

Pam Forbes has spent the least on her campaign, only $682.

Darrell Foster has not submitted a report because he has not taken any donations for his campaign.

He said he wouldn’t ask his community to contribute money out of their own pockets because the people he seeks to represent don’t have the means to financially support a campaign. 

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