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Hotly contested election an expensive affair

Davenport runs most expensive election campaign Although Dave Davenport was unsuccessful in the race for mayor during the November municipal elections, it wasn’t for a lack of spending campaign money to win.

Davenport runs most expensive election campaign

Although Dave Davenport was unsuccessful in the race for mayor during the November municipal elections, it wasn’t for a lack of spending campaign money to win.

With election expenses totalling more than $27,000 Davenport spent twice as much as his opponent, Mayor Hugh O’Reilly. And his expense tally makes his campaign the most expensive in any Whistler municipal election to date, ahead of the previous record holder Max Kirkpatrick who spent $22,000 in the 1996 race for mayor.

According to public records at municipal hall, Davenport spent almost $8,000 in newspaper, TV, radio and electronic advertising, in addition to more than $5,000 in signs, pamphlets, flyers and brochures. His campaign team also spent almost $5,500 in research and polling expenses.

Davenport’s campaign contributions roughly equalled his expenses. Donations over $100 come from Millar Creek Development Ltd., Caramba, La Rua, Vision West Development and the Crystal Lodge, among others.

Mayor O’Reilly also spent more money than ever before to keep his seat in the race against Davenport.

With expenses totalling more than $13,500, O’Reilly was up $11,000 compared to his 1999 campaign in which he spent in the region of $2,000. In 1996 he spent roughly $6,000.

O’Reilly also received campaign contributions totalling his expenses. Among his backers were Whistler Lodging Co., Andy Szocs and Peter Ciceri. The mayor’s company, Blackcomb Chimney, also donated $2,200.

Unlike the mayoral candidates, most council candidates had to extend their campaign season this year after a tied vote for the sixth seat resulted in a run-off election earlier this year.

The successful candidate in that election who took the sixth council seat was Marianne Wade, who also ran the most expensive campaign for councillor at $10,000.

Roughly half of her election expenses came from contributors, among them Peter Alder, John Nadeau and Vision Pacific Ltd. Wade also declared $87 in legal costs associated with tying for sixth place with incumbent Dave Kirk.

Kirk on the other hand spent $1,372 in an unsuccessful bid to keep his council seat for a 13th year, down from his expenses in 1999 which totalled about $2,000.

Just as for his 1999 campaign, Kirk listed no campaign contributions in his disclosure statement. His bid in the end proved unsuccessful, despite several ballot recounts and the run-off election early in 2003.

Six other candidates running for council broke the $4,000 mark in their campaign expenses, four of whom did not win a seat.

Mitch Rhodes spent the most after Wade with almost $8,500 in expenses.

That money was directed in almost equal parts to newspaper, television and radio advertising, as opposed to signs, pamphlets, flyers and brochures.

Rhodes received $850 in total campaign contributions.

Next in line was candidate Shelley Phelan with more than $5,000 in expenses, with a $150 contribution in kind as her only campaign contribution.

Incumbent Ted Milner also breached the $5,000 mark, with more than $4,600 coming from campaign contributors like Jesa Foods, Coastal Mountain Excavation, Z. Point Graphics and Steve and Kathy Podborski. In the 1999 election Milner spent less than half of his 2002 expenses for a third place finish.

Tyler Mosher also spent more than he did in the 1999 election. That year he spent just under $2,700 for an eighth place finish. In the November election he spent over $4,100 for a 10th place finish.

But candidates Caroline Lamont and Gordon McKeever, who also spent over $4,000 in their campaigns, were successful for their efforts.

McKeever did not list any campaign contributions except for a donation in kind of $1,000 for his Web site. McKeever’s expenses totaled $5,258.

Lamont on the other hand spent just over $4,000 and listed $3,898 in campaign contributions. Among her contributors were Vision West Development, Don McQuaid and Canadian Masters Sports Group.

Although candidates like O’Reilly, Milner and Mosher spent more in this election compared to the 1999 election, Kristi Wells spent about half as much and still won.

Wells was the biggest spender in the ’99 campaign at over $6,000. That year she also placed first in the number of votes won in the election. This year she came in fourth place.

Wells spent just over $3,000 with roughly the same amount of money coming in contributions from Vision West Development, McDonald’s, Peter Alder and Bonnie and Andy Munster, among others.

Of the nine candidates to spend under $4,000, two were successful and they were Ken Melamed who spent $2,047 and Nick Davies who spent $1,150.

The rest spent varying degrees of money, either coming from contributions or from their own pockets.

Chris Quinlan spent $2,500, Stephanie Sloan spent $2,182, Ralph Forsyth forked out $2,018 and Rick Andre spent $1,214.

Three candidates spent under $1,000 for their campaigns. Bob Calladine with almost $800, Shane Bennett with $250, and Amar Varma ran the cheapest campaigns, with Varm’s expenses totalling $125.

The four school trustees all had campaigns under $600. Incumbent Andree Janyk did not spend a dime and came in first place. Don Brett spent $600 for second place and Bea Gonzalez and Richard Wyne spent $291 and $128 respectively.