The second-half September campaign-finance reports are in and online for the 15 candidates for Boston City Council at-large. It's our first look at A) how much they each spent to get through the Sept. 22 preliminary election; B) how much they left in their accounts for the post-preliminary campaign; and C) how much quick dough they raised after their prelim showing.
The major lesson to be drawn is that there just isn't any money out there for campaigning -- a bad situation made worse by the competition from the US Senate candidates. Early signs are that there were no pots of gold awaiting those challengers who proved themselves worthy on prelim day. Now there are only four weeks left to the final election -- not a whole ton of time to spend money, let alone raise it too.
Below, I list the candidates in order of their preliminary finish. (The top eight go on to the November run-off, where the top four win seats.) In addition to some brief observations and analysis, I give the amount they reported spending in September, and the cash left in their accounts as of the end of that month. I apologize for any mathematical errors.
1) John Connolly Spent in Sept.: $50,132 Cash on hand: appr. $100,000. Connolly still has some funds in a CD, and I may have lost track of how much, but I think the $100k total is roughly correct. Connolly went on a fundraising spree in September, raising more than $70,000 -- mostly prior to the prelim. His cash surpluses, and his huge first-place finish, make him formidable.
2) Stephen Murphy Spent in Sept.: $24,420 Cash on hand: $51,660. Murphy raised another $9000+ at the end of September, but his war chest is still unintimidating. If the November election brings out a large influx of minorities and progressives, he could easily slip below Arroyo, and possibly below Pressley -- and conceivably even all the way out of his council seat. I suspect he would like a little more cash to combat that possibility.
3) Felix G. Arroyo Spent in Sept.: $30,049 Cash on hand: $33,343. I wouldn't say the money came flooding in after Arroyo's impressive third-place prelim finish, but it looks like he racked up another five or six grand in the week after, and that's something.
4) Ayanna Pressley Spent in Sept.: $21,171 Cash on hand: $27,930. Pressley was pretty careful with her money in the final weeks -- no big mailings and such -- but the rent and staff and so on add up, and she's become pretty depleted. I expected some quick replenishing, but she's only deposited a couple thousand since the prelim. If she wants to secure her position, she could use some money quick.
5) Andrew Kenneally Spent in Sept.: $17,156 Cash on hand: $24,682. Kenneally is a conundrum: he generated a whole lot of votes, but his contributions have dried up. He raised a total of barely $3500 in September, and that was after a relatively weak $8300 in August. He did one targeted mailing before the prelim, but aside from that has hung tightly to his money, so he's got some to play with, but the incoming numbers are troubling.
6) Tito Jackson Spent in Sept.: $11,864 Cash on hand: $9913. If I'm reading his reports right, Jackson raised a late $5000 that made it into the bank report (and is included in his cash on hand), but hasn't shown up invoiced yet. Obviously Jackson needs that to be the start of a flood if he wants to do any mailings before the general election. Optimistically, you could say that he finished close to the top four despite being badly outspent, but actually he spent $15k in August, which was more than most others.
7) Doug Bennett Spent in Sept.: $5170 Cash on hand: $2243. OK, I'll admit I don't know what's going on here. On the one hand, he deserves a whole lot of credit for spending an incredible amount of time and energy over the past year and a half introducing himself to people. On the other hand, he seems to have had an unbelievable amount of robocalling, and large signage, without spending very much money. (And he got snippy and unresponsive with me when I tried to discuss the expenditures with him recently.) I don't yet know what to make of the whole thing.
8) Tomas Gonzalez Spent in Sept.: $14,989 Cash on hand: $6943. Gonzalez spent himself out, and for his trouble has to pay another six weeks' worth of bills while donors will probably shun him because they see eighth place as too far out of it to be worth the investment. That's a shame, but hey, that's politics.
9) Ego Ezedi Spent in Sept.: $12,294 Cash on hand: $3903. Ezedi was finally getting a little bit of money coming in -- $11k in September -- but it was far too little too late. Those Spring pledges never cashed in.
10) Hiep Nguyen Spent in Sept.: $4899 Cash on hand: $826. Didn't leave anything on the table.
11) Sean Ryan Spent in Sept.: $316 Cash on hand: $836. I still don't understand why there was no money from the Ron Paul-ites. In retrospect, he might have had a shot at the final eight if he had tapped into that network.
12) Jean-Claude Sanon Spent in Sept.: $5384 Cash on hand: $2140. There just wasn't enough money in his base to make a big splash.
13) Robert Fortes Spent in Sept.: $12,294 Cash on hand: $6781. He loaned the campaign $5000, so the leftover cash isn't really that much after he repays himself.
14) Bill Trabucco Spent in Sept.: $809 Cash on hand: $184. All his own money.
15) Scotland Willis Spent in Sept.: $2159 Cash on hand: $619. It just never came together for Willis.