Yesterday was the first day for City Council hopefuls to pick up and circulate petitions of candidacy. In past years, would-be candidates were asked to complete a sign-out sheet before picking up candidate packages, but that’s no longer the case.
“I’m not interested in who’s picking up packages,” said City Clerk Sarah Johnson. “Once they turn in their petitions and we’ve verified that they have enough signatures, they’re candidates.”
Yesterday was also the deadline for filing reports of contributions and expenditures, if any. Johnson pointed out that the reporting threshold is very low – you’re obliged to file once you receive contributions or make expenditures of more than $20. Doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve filed your nomination petition, or whether the contributions/expenditures were received/made months ago – you still have to file.
Only six candidates had filed contribution/expenditure reports as of 12:30 PM today (Jan. 3): Jim Bensberg, Angela Dougan, Jill Gaebler, Bernie Herpin, Dennis Moore and David Moore.
Incumbent council member Dougan has already raised more than $10,000. She’s been raising money since November, and has an impressive list of contributors. Suzi Bach ($1,000), Brian Bahr ($200), Mark Bogosian ($2,000), Andy McElhany, ($100), Joe Woodford, ($1,000), Steve Durham ($150) and the Broadmoor Hotel ($500) have all contributed to her campaign. That list says it all: Dougan will have the unstinting and unanimous support of the conservative political community. Thus far, no candidate has surfaced to challenge her for the District 2 seat.
Jill Gaebler, who will challenge Bernie Herpin and Al Loma for the District 5 seat, has raised $5,250, half in cash, half in kind. Comntributors include author Laura DiSilverio ($500), business analyst Lisa Scott ($500), and high school teacher Chris Berry ($150).
Bernie Herpin has yet to raise any money, but he had $1447 left over from his previous campaign. The filing covered the period from April 27, 2010 to December 25, 2012. Expenditures included dinners, meetings and 2010 Christmas cards, leaving Herpin with $754 in the bank.
Jim Bensberg, who is so far the sole announced candidate in District 3, reported raising a total of $1,850. Contributors included Rose Durham ($500) and Bill Carle ($250). Bensberg also loaned his campaign $1,000.
Didtrict 6 candidate David Moore reported contributions of $759, including $500 in kind and $259 from the candidate. District 4 candidate Dennis Moore received one contribution of $100 from Catherine Roupe, his campaign treasurer, and loaned his campaign $185.
Other announced or probable candidates, including Al Loma, Gary Flakes, Keith King, Lisa Czelatdko, Brandy Williams, and Tim Leigh, didn’t file.
Do these early filings mean much? With the exception of Dougan’s, probably not. None of the Big Dogs (e.g., the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, the Housing and Building Association, and the Regional Business Alliance) have made their endorsements, and none of the candidates have begun all-out fundraising efforts.
So the next few days should be interesting. Some questions:
-The HBA is always first out of the box with endorsements. Will they endorse Jill Gaebler, stick with the tried and true Bernie Herpin, or surprise everyone and give Al Loma the nod? Will former state senator Keith King throw his hat in the ring and challenge Jim Bensberg and Brandy Williams in the three-way race?
-What about district 4 and 6? Will the two Moores (David and Dennis, and no, they’re not related) cruise home? Is Gary Flakes’ candidacy serious? And if not, why are substantial community members like Rosemary Harris Lytle backing him? Regardless of the person he may have become, he was convicted of a particularly pitiless and vicious murder. Property and drug offenses are one thing, but murder?
Elections are always about the future, but they’re also very much about the past. Will the voters seek experienced hands such as King, Bensberg, or Herpin? Or will Brandy Williams, Jill Gaebler, and the irascible Tim Leigh sit at the Council dais for the next four years?