The seven Raleigh City Council members seeking reelection had significantly more cash on hand than their respective opponents at the end of July, finance records show.
Candidates could file to run for office starting July 6, and the first campaign finance reports were due July 31. The election is Oct. 6, and the next financial reports are due by Sept. 1.
Reports for the 18 Raleigh council candidates show that each incumbent had at least $3,500 by the end of July, while only four of the 11 challengers had raised more than $1,000 by then.
District E incumbent Bonner Gaylord, the youngest member of the council, has the most cash by far. Gaylord had $160,600 by the end of July – $100,000 more than the next richest candidate, Mayor Nancy McFarlane.
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District E, which includes northwest Raleigh, features the largest cash discrepancy. DeAnthony Collins, one of Gaylord’s two opponents, had $151, while the other, Edie Jeffreys, didn’t report any campaign cash.
Craig Ralph, a Clark Avenue resident vying for one of two at-large seats, is the only challenger to raise more than $10,000. But he had spent all but $2,300 of it by the end of July.
Ralph and Matt Tomasulo, the other at-large challenger, face an uphill battle to match the $45,000 held by at-large incumbents Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson.
Tomasulo was one of five challengers – including Jeffreys, mayoral candidate Bob Weltzin, District B candidate David Cox and District A candidate Ed Woodhouse – who reported having less than $100 at the end of July.
Cox said the July reports aren’t totally reflective of reality. He said he had raised more than $6,000 since the report was filed.
Cox is up against John Odom, who has served on the council since 2009 and was elected five consecutive times between 1993 and 2001. Odom had $3,500 on hand by the end of July.
Cox said he hopes to offset any funding disadvantage with a strong social media campaign and ground game.
“In a local race, it’s very doable,” he said, adding that he has already identified the densest streets in North Raleigh.
District A is the only seat where an incumbent isn’t seeking reelection.
Current representative Wayne Maiorano decided against seeking a second term, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.
Woodhouse is one of three men running for the seat, and the other two come to the table with more money and powerful connections.
Dickie Thompson, a friend of McFarlane’s, had $5,000 by the end of July. JB Buxton, a member of Raleigh’s planning commission and adviser to former Gov. Mike Easley, had $500.
Early voting spared
The Garner town council has voted to rescind a letter it sent to the Wake County Board of Elections asking permission to eliminate an early voting site this year, since its candidates were running unopposed.
Last week, town manager Hardin Watkins proposed eliminating the site to save the town $7,000.
But the proposal brought into question the precedent it would set for Garner, especially during a time when the state is being sued by a number of groups for reducing the number of early voting days, among other things.
Garner leaders apparently had a change of heart Monday, instead opting to encourage voters to vote early, in hopes it will increase voter turnout.
Council members said they decided to rescind the letter after residents expressed their displeasure at eliminating the town’s only early voting site, even if only for this year.
The Cary Town Council spent several hours in a conference room Thursday night, split 3-3 over which firm to hire to search for Cary’s next town manager.
It’s not the first time since Gale Adcock left in January to join the N.C. House of Representatives that the normally seven-member council has found itself in need of a tie-breaking vote. When she left, the council decided not to fill her vacant seat through either an appointment or special election. Her seat will be filled in this fall’s election.
In February, a rezoning request that would have cleared the way for 70 new townhomes failed after the council couldn’t break a 3-3 vote.
On Thursday, the board eventually picked a firm in a 4-2 vote after Mayor Harold Weinbrecht switched sides after much debate. Council member Lori Bush, who was one of the members who wanted to fill Adcock’s seat, joked about their stalemate halfway through the late meeting.
“If only we had another person,” Bush said, in a falsely musing voice. “Hold on, let me call Gale.”
▪ Raleigh city councilman Bonner Gaylord plans to moderate a panel discussion on Raleigh development issues at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the Burning Coal Theatre at 224 Polk St. in Raleigh. The panel will include environmental consultant David Knight, city planning commissioner Eric Braun, Jeremy Medlin of M/I Homes and Smedes York, former Raleigh mayor and board chairman for York Properties.
Compiled by Andy Specht, Jonathan Alexander and Will Doran.