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Saskatoon releases campaign spending from past civic election

Atchison's 2012 election campaign expenses double challenger
Reported by François Biber
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There was a big difference in campaign expenses between the mayoral candidates during October's civic election as now Mayor Don Atchison reported spending $161,347, while competitor Tom Wolf reported only spending $86,202.

Mayoral candidates had a cap of about $175,000 (75 cents per person), while ward councillors had a ceiling of $17,500.

A report released Wednesday showed Atchison was able to offset his campaign costs by raising $146,000 leaving a $14,000 deficit. Wolf on the other hand collected just over $20,000 leaving him with a large deficit.

“I went into the campaign with my eyes wide open and I knew I was going to have to spend that much money to have an impact and I also knew I was going to be unsuccessful to raise that money given the short time,” said Wolf.

On the list of contributors, Wolf collected mostly from individuals while Atchison submitted a long list which included many businesses and union organizations, including a $10,000 contribution from Derby Holdings Inc.

“I’m terribly proud that we’ve been able to in fact, have the business community and unions all be able to contribute to our campaign and it’s tremendous to have that much support along with the smaller contributors,” said Mayor Atchison.

“We didn’t accept money personally from anyone. Our campaign team accepted donations in order to run the campaign and our expenses are made public.”

According to Atchison's expense report, close to $80,000 was spent on electoral expenses, which Atchison says went to wages for individuals who were making calls to identify voters.

Atchison said in the future he would like to have voter lists, so candidates have a better idea of where the votes come from. He added he would like to see contributors receive tax recepts for their donations to campaigns.

“We don’t give out tax receipts. In provincial and federal elections they get tax receipts and I think we should make voter lists available,” said Atchison.

Wolf said he doesn’t regret his run for office, adding he got more bang for his buck nearly winning the mayoral race.

“Even though I spent only half of what they mayor spent I achieved a 47 per cent popular vote,” said Wolf.

“That tells me there was significant demand for challengers and the messages we had resonated strongly with the public. To have been able to do what we did with the little money we had was very surprising.”

A breakdown of the councillor expenses tells a different story as some winners spent more, while other winning councillors spent less than their opponents.

In Ward 1, Darren Hill spent $16,616, about $1,000 away from the maximum allowed. Hill beat out Robin Bellamy who spent $16,689 on his campaign.

In Ward 2, Pat Lorje came in with the lowest expense report on winning councillors with $8,206. Her opponents Owen Fortosky spent just $800 and Robert Godfrey spent $500.

Ward 3 was both a tight race at the polls and in expenses. Ann Iwanchuk won the ward spending $11,618, and Michael San Miguel spent about $300 more but fell short at the polls.

Troy Davies ($17,094) beat out Sean Shaw ($13,165) in Ward 4. Randy Donauer ($16,324) won Ward 5 over James Ford ($4,394).

Charlie Clark ($15,514) kept Ward 6 winning over Howard Fullford ($0), Chad Leier-Berg ($5,324), and Brandon Snowsell ($16,079).

Mairin Loewen ($15,133) won Ward 7 over Mike Bzowey ($17,184). In Ward, 8 Eric Olauson ($14,247) won his seat over Ainsley Robertson ($11,676). In Ward 9, Tiffany Paulsen ($8,238) captured a victory over Dennis Nowoselsky ($1,600).

Zach Jefferies ($16,763) took Ward 10 over Bev Dubois ($14,680).

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