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Expense reports show cost of Concord City Council campaigns

It costs most city council candidates several hundred dollars to run their campaigns. But most have raised much less in donations, according to reports on file in the Concord city clerk’s office.

Topping the list in both donations and expenses is Amanda Grady Sexton, the Ward 4 councilor who is now running for an at-large seat. She has raised $2,915 from more than 40 donors who live both in Concord and other cities. She spent more than $1,200 as of Tuesday’s reporting deadline.

“I’ve been really pleased with the outpouring of support that I’ve had from friends and family,” she said yesterday. “It’s extraordinarily difficult and expensive to run a citywide campaign. Expenses include things like direct mail pieces as well as signs. . . . None of these things, of course, are as valuable as direct conversations with voters, which is why I’ve also spent a tremendous amount of time going door to door.”

Candidates in the city election are required to file expense and contribution reports four weeks before the election, two weeks before the election and two weeks after the election. A review of the expense reports showed that, while spending varies, most council candidates spent several hundred dollars on signs, mailings and flyers.

Kevin Bloom, a candidate in Ward 4, reported the second-highest campaign contributions, with $680 from seven individual donors – none of whom live in Concord – and about $700 in expenses.

Second behind Grady Sexton in campaign spending was Ward 2 candidate Allan Herschlag, who reported about $930 in expenses and $275 in donations. His opponent, Tim Bauman, reported spending more than $750 and receiving $100 in donations.

Grady Sexton was not the only at-large candidate to report donations. She and Councilor Fred Keach both reported $100 donations from the Granite State Teamsters union. Keach reported $200 in total campaign donations, and $280 in campaign expenses. Three other at-large candidates reported no campaign contributions. Samantha Clattenburg and Scott Welch both reported spending about $200, while Timothy Willis spent $142. (A sixth candidate, Josh VanBuskirk, is not actively campaigning and did not file reports with the city clerk.)

Campaign spending has been lowest this year in the three-way race for Concord’s mayor. Three-term incumbent Mayor Jim Bouley said he has neither spent nor received any money. Mayoral candidate Chris Booth reported $20 in donations and $20 in spending for photocopies. John Cook, a third mayoral candidate, reported only a $5 donation that he received two years ago.

In ward races for city council, several candidates have spent hundreds of dollars this fall.

Dennis Soucy has spent the most in Ward 8; he reported about $570 in campaign expenses. Incumbent Councilor Dick Patten reported no expenses or donations Oct. 18, but missed last week’s deadline to file a report. Candidate Gail Matson spent $300, and received about $150 in donations.

In Ward 4, Bloom’s opponent and current At-Large Councilor Michael DelloIacono reported about $148 for campaign mailings and Facebook advertisements, and about $200 in donations. Byron Champlin, a third Ward 4 candidate, reported $75 in donations and more than $760 in campaign expenditures.

Two candidates in contested races have not filed any reports this year: Cassandra Rasmussen in Ward 1 and Rick Cibotti in Ward 3.

Reached yesterday, Cibotti said he did not know he had to report his spending.

“I just spent the money out of my pocket,” he said. “I didn’t know it was a requirement. . . . I thought if you got outside donations that was a requirement.”

Candidates are required to report both campaign donations and expenses, according to the city’s code of ordinances.

Cibotti’s opponents have reported spending several hundred dollars. Jennifer Kretovic, the Ward 2 councilor who now lives in Ward 3 due to redistricting, spent more than $700 and received $50 in donations. Jan McClure, the incumbent councilor in Ward 3, reported nearly $590 in expenses and no donations Oct. 18, but missed Tuesday’s deadline. She said she has not had any further expenses or donations, but forgot to file a report and plans to do so before the election.

Rasmussen, who did not file reports for Ward 1, did not return a phone call seeking comment. Her opponents each filed expense reports: Adam Czarkowski raised $300 in donations and spent $320, while Brent Todd spent about $560 and reported no donations.

Other candidates who missed deadlines to file reports said they have not raised or spent any money and therefore did not need to file a report.

“I have not raised any money nor have I spent any money,” said Councilor Dan St. Hilaire, who is running unopposed in Ward 10.

Ward 9 Councilor Candace Bouchard is also running unopposed and has not filed spending reports. Other unopposed councilors – Rob Werner in Ward 5, Allen Bennett in Ward 6 and Keith Nyhan in Ward 7 – reported spending no money and receiving no donations.

Bouley filed a report Oct. 18 but not this week. He said he did not file another report because he has not spent money or collected contributions this fall.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Dennis Soucy’s campaign expenses. He reported about $570 in campaign expenses.

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