When it comes to supporting candidates for the Columbia City Council, Realtors, contractors and developers, as well as well-known advocates for the environment have reached into their pockets to ante up.
Campaign finance reports filed Monday with the Boone County Clerk’s Office show candidates for the Sixth Ward seat on the City Council are raising far more than their peers in the Second Ward contest.
Fundraising figures in the Sixth Ward race between Valerie Barnes and Barbara Hoppe show Hoppe has raised $19,358, while Barnes has raised $15,550. Hoppe has nearly $12,000 left in her fund, while Barnes has a little more than $12,000.
The reports show much of Barnes’ money has come from the real estate, development and construction community, while Hoppe has dozens of donations from advocates for the environment, attorneys and MU faculty. Barnes is a Realtor and Hoppe is an attorney and a founding member of the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition.
In the Second Ward, challenger Brian Toohey has raised and spent nearly four times as much as incumbent Chris Janku in his bid to unseat the 15-year councilman. The reports show Toohey has raised $7,248 and spent $2,546, while Janku has raised $1,977 and spent $694.
Like Barnes, Toohey is relying heavily on the support of Realtors, developers and contractors, whose $3,050 in donations made up nearly half his total.
With one week remaining until voters head to the polls, council candidates were pleased with the results of their respective fundraising efforts.
“I don’t have any more formal fundraising events planned at this point,” Barnes said.
Because she is still receiving checks in the mail, Barnes said a final count ofv funds is not possible. She said the remaining funds will be used to pay for signs and miscellaneous costs associated with her campaign.
While Barnes was pleased with the support she had received from well-known businesses and business people in Columbia, Hoppe was happy that her fundraising efforts had been more “community” oriented.
“Most of my funds are $25 donations from regular people,” Hoppe said.
She said her campaign will look over their current finances and what other expenses might be incurred before deciding whether to continue with any further fundraising efforts.
Both candidates’ views differed on whether such donations would influence their voting while sitting on the council.
Barnes said she doesn’t view large contributions from the business and development community as a boon to her campaign because such businesses support an array of causes to improve the community.
Hoppe, however, said such donations speak to the council member’s true interests.
“I think her letter to the Realtors about wanting to be a representative and voice for industry sort of goes along the line of not being interested in representing the city fully and nonpartially,” Hoppe said.
The high fundraising totals in the Sixth Ward may represent the hot-button issues surrounding development, such as the annexation and development of the Philips tract that have come to the forefront. Hoppe, as a long-time member of the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition, challenged such efforts, while Barnes is a 10 percent shareholder in the development group that intends to bring a mix of commercial and residential property to the tract.
In the Second Ward, the fundraising numbers might not be as large, but Chris Janku said he is happy that some of his constituents have donated to his campaign. Janku added that he expected Brian Toohey to raise more money.
Toohey could not be reached for comment because he was out of town.
Other local races have proved to be equally expensive, such as the race between Shelly Dometrorch and Don Farris to fill the vacancy on the Boone County Fire Protection District board of directors.
According to reports filed Monday, Dometrorch had raised $12,613, compared with Farris’ total of $8,570. Dometrorch had spent $7,213 and Farris $3,867. The reports showed that the vast majority of Dometrorch’s money has come from contributions between $25 and $100. Farris’ report, however, showed several larger contributions from construction-related companies.
The Boone County Courthouse Expansion Committee, which is promoting approval of a one-fifth-cent sales tax to cover the cost of expanding the Courthouse and renovating other county buildings, has collected $20,151 and spent nearly $15,000, according to its report. It spent $8,743 on commercials and print ads touting the necessity of the expansion.
Among school board candidates, Elton Fay reported collecting $650 and Steve Calloway collected $2,560. Michelle Gadbois, Michael Tan and Arch Brooks did not file reports.