Three city council races are being contested in early voting with Election Day scheduled for Saturday, December 17. Early voting ends tomorrow. Brian Kennedy and Analisa Silverstein are running for the district 1 seat. In district 6, incumbent Claudia Lizette Rodriguez is fending off challenger Art Fierro. And in district 8, Bettina Olivares and Chris Canales are running for that seat.
With the election only five days away, we looked at the latest campaign finance reports. In total, five of the six campaigns raised $110,489 and spent $146,078.24. As of today, the Brian Kennedy campaign spent the most in the runoff. Kennedy reported spending $42,298.34.
A spokesperson for the Fierro campaign told us via text message that Fierro’s campaign finance report is “ready,” but would not be filed until today. Fierro’s campaign added that the campaign reports were not due until today because the “city was closed Friday.” As Election Day is on December 17, the report’s due date was Friday. Readers should note that filing campaign reports is completed online and thus city staff are not required to be present for the filing. Every campaign filed their reports except for Fierro.
The five campaigns that filed their campaign finance reports reported 97 contributors to their campaigns. The two largest contributors to the campaigns were Woody Hunt and Paul Foster, who each contributed $30,000 to three candidates.
District 1: Kennedy versus Silverstein
Brian Kennedy and Analisa Silverstein are facing off for the district 1 seat. In his latest campaign finance report, Kennedy reported raising $11,800 from 21 campaign contributors and spending $42,298.34. Kennedy also reported still carrying the $51,000 loan he made earlier to his campaign. Kennedy’s largest contributors were William Katrin for $2,500, the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors for $2,500 and Oscar Venegas for $1,500. These contributions accounted for 55% of the total money Kennedy raised. However, it should be noted that Kennedy’s loan to his campaign is the single largest contribution to his candidacy.
Kennedy’s largest expense was $13,468.03 for printing services.
The challenger, Silverstein reported raising $18,994 from 19 contributors and spending $25,883.11. She reported having $6,761.27 left in her campaign going into Election Day. Silverstein’s largest contributors were Paul Foster for $10,000, Woody Hunt for $5,000 and Dee Margo for $1,000. These campaign contributors accounted for 84% of the political money she raised.
Silverstein reported spending $12,165.09 in printing expenses. Her second largest political expenditure was $8,432 in salaries for her campaign workers.
District 6: Incumbent Rodriguez versus Fierro
Incumbent Claudia Rodriguez is fending off challenger Art Fierro for her district 6 seat. This race has become the most watched race this political cycle. Rodriguez reported raising $40,200 from 14 contributors and spending $38,073.14, according to her latest campaign finance report. Notable contributors include Woody Hunt for $15,000, Paul Foster for $10,000, Robert Bowling for $2,000, Stanley Jobe for $2,500, Dee Margo for $1,000 and E.C. Houghton for $1,000. These contributions accounted for 78% of her total contributions. Rodriguez’ largest campaign expense was $19,105.86 for printing services.
Art Fierro has not filed his campaign report as of this morning. We asked the Fierro campaign several times for a copy of his report and although we were told that it was “ready” we did not receive a copy of his report. When the report become public, we will publish our findings.
District 8: Canales versus Olivares
Chris Canales reported raising $5,720 from 24 contributors in his latest report and spending $15,106.98. According to Canales’ report he has $5,732.08 left going into Election Day. Chris Canales reported spending $3,989.69 from his campaign contributions and $11,117.29 from “personal funds.” Canales’ largest expenditure went towards printing services. His largest political contributions were from Richard Teschner and Gerald Rubin for $1,000 each. The El Paso Electric Company Employees PAC contributed $750.00.
Canales’ challenger, Bettina Olivares reported raising $33,775 from 19 campaign contributors. She reported spending $24,716.67, leaving $13,759 available to her going into Election Day. Notable campaign contributions included $10,000 from Paul Foster, $10,000 from Woody Hunt, $2,500 from Frederick Francis, $2,500 from Steve Ortega, $2,500 from Stanley Jobe and $1,000 from E.C. Houghton. These contributions accounted for 84% of the total campaign contributions she raised.
Olivares’ largest campaign expenses were for printing service, $10,617.64 and a $6,000 reimbursement for a personal loan she made to her campaign. The candidate also reported spending $2,160.29 on the local technology platform, Fair Data.
Notably absent from the filed campaign financial reports is J.P Bryan who made no campaign contributions to the candidates facing off in the runoff election. Bryan had contributed $20,500 to four candidates before the election. Of that amount, Bryan contributed $6,000 to Art Fierro. Because Fierro has not filed his report we do not know if Bryan contributed to Fierro for the runoff.
Of the four candidate’s who received Bryan’s contributions before the election, two candidates, Richard Genera in the district 5 race garnered only 19% of the vote and Rich Wright in the district 1 race ended in third place with 26% of the vote, leaving Chris Canales and Bettina Olivares facing each other in the upcoming runoff. Bryan’s other two campaign contributions went to both incumbent Claudia Rodriguez and challenger Art Fierro in the district 6 race.
Election Day is Saturday, December 17 and early voting ends tomorrow.
Disclosure: Candidate Claudia Rodriguez contracted technical support from the author’s technology company. These services are provided separately from the publication and have no influence on our reporting.