Mayor-President Kip Holden has raised almost twice as much money as his best-financed competitor, Mike Walker, since the first of the year, according to the most recent campaign finance disclosure reports, submitted Monday to the Louisiana Ethics Administration.
Moreover, Holden has more than twice the amount of money as Walker on hand as of mid-October to carry him to the finish line in the Nov. 6 election or into a runoff election on Dec. 8 if that proves necessary, the reports show.
For his part, Walker has nearly matched the mayor in spending money on his campaign so far.
Holden has raised $596,130 from Jan. 1 to Oct. 17, compared with Walker, who raised $314,105. As of Oct. 17, Holden had $326,280 in cash on hand compared with Walker’s $133,939.
Holden reported spending $329,193 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, while Walker reported spending $292,607.
The most recent campaign finance disclosure form, the last to be submitted until after the primary, covered campaign activity between Sept. 28 and Oct. 17.
The report showed Holden had raised $84,730 in the three-week period, and had spent $175,962. Walker, who showed more momentum in both fundraising and spending in the early part of the year, raised $47,025 and spent $38,260 for the same time frame.
Top officials with Walker’s campaign said they are preparing to continue to campaign for another month because they expect to be in a runoff but declined to provide details about their plans and strategy for a final push to the Nov. 6 primary election.
“We’re very comfortable with our media strategy heading into the final week,” said Chris Boudreaux, Walker’s campaign manager. “We are excited about our position in the race and are preparing for a runoff in December with the current mayor-president.”
Rannah Gray, Holden’s campaign adviser, said they hope to win in the primary.
“You have to be prepared for everything but it looks very good for us at this point,” she said.
In the most recent reporting period, Walker spent at least $4,300 on making and delivering yard signs.
Walker also spent $6,500 on payroll to pay campaign workers Boudreaux, Mallory Kennedy and Kenny Weber and $17,000 on polling with Public Opinion Strategies, based in Alexandria, Va.
He spent $492 to advertise on Facebook, $3,970 to advertise in The Advocate and $1,000 for a billboard rental.
Holden’s expenditures were significantly geared toward advertising space, with more than $109,000 spent on TV ad space with stations including WVLA, WBRZ, WAFB and WGMB. He spent $5,603 on print ads with the Baton Rouge Business Report and The Weekly Press, and at least $12,081 on radio ads with Cumulus Radio and Clear Channel. He also spent $8,950 with a company to design print ads and produce a commercial.
Gray said Holden’s campaign is ramping up this week, and funds are still pouring in.
“It’s going to be a hectic sprint to election day,” Gray said.
Political analyst Bob Mann, director of LSU’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs, said campaign contributions do not necessarily indicate which candidate is leading in a race.
“I know too many cases of where someone had a lot more money and lost,” he said. “You may just have a lot more friends willing to give money.”
But he added that in the mayor-president race, name recognition is key, and having the money to buy TV ads is a powerful tool.
Mann said Walker needed to raise substantial funds to gain name recognition, convince people Holden is a bad mayor and then persuade people to vote for him.
“That takes a lot of money, time and effort,” Mann said. “Kip Holden has a lot of name recognition so he doesn’t need as much money to do what Walker does.”
Steve Myers, a no-party candidate, loaned himself $130,000 for the campaign, campaign finance reports show.
He said the few donations he received, he will return, because he’s decided to focus on campaigning rather than fundraising.
“People give money to political campaigns like they bet on sports — they want to support a winner,” Myers said. “I think we started too late to show people that we’d make the runoff.”
But Myers said he’s still hopeful about making it to the runoff Dec. 8.
“The race doesn’t end until you pass the finish line, and sometimes people trip in the last 100 yards of the race,” he said.
Myers only spent about $6,000, most of which was spent on Facebook advertising.
Gordon Mese, also no-party, neither raised nor spent money during the most recent campaign period. He said he’s spent a total of about $1,400 of his own funds for the entire campaign, plus a $600 fine for failing to turn in disclosure forms earlier in the year, which he said he is appealing.
He said as a political novice who was not raising money, he had no idea he would have to submit a form.
Mese prides himself on running his campaign without donations.
“I didn’t take any bribes, ummm, I mean campaign contributions,” Mese joked. “Money is the problem with our system.”
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