Big business: Council races generate heavy spending

October 29, 2009
By

Campaign spending on the Nov. 3 City Election showed the at-large race tipping the scales on spending for several candidates, with some heavy spending also going on in the Ward 2 and Ward 3 races as well.

Campaign Finance Reports were due on Monday for the election period through Oct. 16, and it appeared that – despite a down economy – some candidates raised quite a bit of money and spent freely, while others held tight to their purse strings.

The At-Large Race

The very competitive at-large race was clearly where all the money was filtering through.

It appeared that Ward 4 Councillor George Rotondo – who is running at-large – spent the most money so far in this election. Rotondo was not able to file traditionally due to a computer malfunction, but he did provide preliminary information about his campaign finances.

The analysis, also, is somewhat incomplete as incumbent Councillors Dan Rizzo and Tony Zambuto, and challenger Ed O’Hara, had not filed their reports on time. So, the Journal was not able to view their reports on Tuesday. Not turning in the reports on time can mean a civil penalty of $10 per day.

Rotondo has spent approximately $19,500 so far in the race, while taking in around $19,000 in donations this period.

His biggest expenditures came in mailings, which amounted to nearly $10,000 in costs. Second, a television advertising campaign cost him just over $6,000.

Rotondo said he put in around $3,000 of his own money this time, and going into the home stretch he is left with around $1,000.

Running a close second in spending was incumbent Councillor at-large John Correggio, who spent $17,489 and raised $14,175. He put in a personal loan this period of $1,500.

Correggio’s largest expense came on printing and mailings, but his largest single expense came in the production of a TV commercial and an 11-channel television ad buy on Comcast. That cost him $6,979.

Correggio reports having $210 at this point in the election.

Coming in a surprising third in spending was challenger Richard Penta, who raised some serious money and spent some serious money this period for a campaign that just started this spring.

Penta started with nothing in his campaign chest and raised $13,491, and spent $12,250. Some $2,500 of that was a personal loan to his campaign.

He put out nearly $5,000 for printing and mailings. He now has $1,241.

Another newcomer, Al Terminiello Jr., raised a similar amount of money and also spent vigorously during the campaign to date. He raised $13,907 and spent $11,222. That leaves Terminiello with a balance of just over $2,500 for the backstretch.

One of Terminiello’s biggest expenditures was for a rental van adorned with a large campaign banner, which ran him $4,195.

Rounding out the top five spenders this time around was incumbent Bob Haas. While Haas did not host a time or a fund-raiser, he did raise $10,510 through campaign letters. He spent $10,215, mostly on printing, mailers and campaign publicity handouts.

Unlike the others, though, Haas still has a campaign chest of nearly $18,000.

After Haas, spending dropped off dramatically.

Incumbent George V. Colella spent but $2,642 and raised $4,340 during the period. He sits on a campaign chest of $23,980.

Challenger Linda Rosa was close behind, spending $2,385 and raising $3,100.

Rounding out the field was Victoria Laws, who raised $750 and spent $2,095, mostly on printing. Incidentally, Laws still has a pretty impressive list of liabilities – or monies owed – as a result of her 2007 run for Ward 6.

In Ward 2

While Ward 2 has been an afterthought over the years when it comes to campaign spending, this year is a different story.

Both candidates, incumbent Ira Novoselsky and challenger Steven Morabito, raised a large amount of money for a Ward race – especially a small ward like Ward 2.

Together, they raised over $20,000.

Morabito raised $10,885 and Novoselsky raised $11,248.

Novoselsky outspent Morabito just a bit though, putting up $11,600. Most of that was for printing and mailing campaign literature. Another $1,000 went to a video shoot.

Novoselsky still sits on a chest of $9,873.

Meanwhile, Morabito spent $9,167 for things like mailings, printing and postage. He is left with $1,718 for the home stretch.

In Ward 3

Likewise, in Ward 3, incumbent Arthur Guinasso raised quite a bit of money and spent a fair amount also.

His challenger, Brian Vesce, had not turned in his finance report by Tuesday morning.

Guinasso spent nearly $9,500 on his campaign, while taking in $8,035. He remains with a balance of nearly $13,000. One of his largest expenses was for a billboard on Broadway, which cost him $1,461. He also filmed a commercial for $903.

In Ward 4

The Ward 4 race is not short of competition, but is certainly short on money.

While three good candidates vie for the position, only one of them has spent more than $5,000 on their campaign.

That person would be Stephen Reardon, who has spent $5,001 and took in $6,583.

Meanwhile, candidate Rick Freni has spent $2,683 and candidate Joe Lavino has spent $1,356.

School Committee

At the School Committee level, there is virtually no spending or fund-raising to speak of this time around.

Really, no candidate for that office has spent or raised any significant amount of money on this campaign.

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