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.

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.

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