Bonner Gaylord, incumbent member of the Raleigh City Council from a district including northwest Raleigh, has a distinction in this year’s council races. He has raised the most money of any candidate and has more cash on hand. Gaylord even has $100,000 more than Mayor Nancy McFarlane, who’s running for re-election.
Gaylord’s war chest of $160,000 is impressive considering that he doesn’t appear to be in any danger of losing his seat against two opponents who have little money.
Rather than signaling a hard fight for the North Hills general manager (he’s an executive with the Kane realty empire), the money is likely a forecast of a bigger race in the future. Gaylord is said to be considering a run for mayor should McFarlane decide not to run again. For that post, he’d have opposition, notably from incumbent at-large council member Mary-Ann Baldwin.
In his late 30s, Gaylord can’t be personally faulted for having ambition or doing what he thinks it takes to win a mayor’s race. But when city council races or mayoral races customarily start to become six figures in terms of expense, it’s not a particularly happy development, because the ramping up of running draws all sorts of special interest money from those with issues before the city council.
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Raleigh’s council has had a number of developers and business people over many years holding seats, and they’ve been public-spirited and even-handed on development. But expensive races by nature make it more difficult for average citizens to participate in elective office.