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Council Candidates’ Money Count Can Be Confusing

Two papers print different numbers…both accurate

Bob Kellar

This morning the Signal and the Daily News published reports of how much each Santa Clarita City Council candidate has raised for their campaign. The Daily News reported that Bob Spierer was the top fundraiser, having pulled in $68,000. The Signal reported that Bob Kellar was first in the fundraising with $34,000. Technically, both publications reported accurate information, however, the Daily News included personal loans that the candidates had added to their campaigns, and the Signal did not.

These numbers pertain to candidates for the upcoming City Council election. One seat is vacant and was formerly Cameron Smyth’s. The other seat is Bob Kellar’s current seat, and he is running for re-election.

KHTS contacted Bob Kellar, Bob Spierer, Maria Gutzeit, and Laurie Ender, all candidates running for City Council, to try and clarify the matter and see who really raised what.

First, we must decipher what fund-“raising”really means.

Maria Gutzeit

Bob Spierer clarified that there are three different types of campaign contributions that candidates report; loans, donations and non-monetary contributions. Loans consist of money loaned to the campaign by the candidate themselves.

Loaning one’s own campaign money is common place, as Maria Gutzeit explains. She told KHTS that there are several reasons candidates will kick start their campaign funds with their own money. “You want to show that you’re serious,” she says. “But also, campaign costs can incur before donations start to come in.”

Many times, candidates will not end up spending most of the money they loaned themselves, instead using it as

Bob Spierer

a back-up. Every candidate except for Bob Kellar has loaned their campaigns money.

The second type of campaign contribution is the actual donations. This accounts for money that is directly donated to the candidate’s campaign by other people or organizations.

This is where the confusion stems from. Bob Kellar has raised $34,000, and has made no personal contributions. Bob Spierer on the other hand, has raised over $18,000, but has added a personal loan of $50,000 to that to make a total of $68,000.

So really, there should be two races, one that determines who raised more donation money, and the other determining who has the most money in their campaign chest.

The following numbers are from January to June of 2007.

Most Money Donated:

Laurie Ender

Bob Kellar – $34,000
Laurie Ender – $21, 698
Bob Spierer – $18,882
Maria Gutzeit – $12,800
Diane Trautman – $ 4,985

Most Money Total (including personal loans)

Bob Spierer – $68,882
Laurie Ender – $ 36,698
Bob Kellar – $34,000
Maria Gutzeit – $22,800
Diane Trautman – $20,985

While there can be advantages of making a large personal donation to one’s own campaign, there is also something to be said about someone who raises most of their money, according to Maria Gutzeit. “You want to show that you have community and business’ support.”

So the numbers don’t lie, but they can confuse. But regardless of this filing, it is clear that this race will only heat up as the months carry on, and with at least five campaigns already in full swing, the December filing could very well prove to paint a different picture. 

Council Candidates’ Money Count Can Be Confusing

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