Money has poured in to Austin’s five City Council races with incumbents and challengers collectively raising at least $320,000 over the past three months, campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show.
While the election is still a month away, the fundraising figures provide insights into the intensity and interest these five races are generating — and the ability of the candidates to compete in the closing weeks.
Three of the races — District 6, District 7 and District 10 — accounted for 80 percent of the money raised in City Council races from July through September.
The biggest haul was reported by District 10 challenger Alison Alter, who raised $60,757.96 from July 12 through Sept. 29. Alter’s total bested the $46,530 raised by Council Member Sheri Gallo by nearly a third.
“We had over 300 donors. I think it was a really good report for us,” said Mykle Tomlinson, Alter’s campaign manager. “It shows the grassroots support that Alison is getting out in the neighborhood and the community.”
Gallo was no fundraising slouch though. Her fundraising total for this period was the third largest reported by the 15 people running for council. Combined, Gallo and Alter accounted for almost a third of all of the money raised over the last three months.
Rob Walker, who is also running in District 10, reported raising $4,100. Campaign finance reports for the fourth person in the race, Nick Virden, were not available.
In the hotly contested District 6 rematch, challenger Jimmy Flannigan surpassed Council Member Don Zimmerman for the second reporting period — raising $46,651.99 to Zimmerman’s $38,996.50. However, Zimmerman, who has begun airing television ads, outspent Flannigan by nearly $16,000.
“We’re really happy with our numbers,” said Tim Kelly, Zimmerman’s campaign manager.
He attributed the large expenditure number on their decision to buy their advertising up front.
“We’re spending our money responsibly, focusing on phone calls and knocking on doors,” Allison Heinrich, Flannigan’s campaign manager.
And in the District 7 race, Council Member Leslie Pool led challenger Natalie Gauldin in fundraising efforts by a 2-1 margin, with Pool collecting $43,654 over the three month period. Gauldin reported raising $21,285.
The competition in the money race in the District 4 and District 2 contests was far less fierce.
District 4 Council Member Greg Casar reported raising $34,450.50 for this period, while opponents Gonzalo Camacho reported no contributions and Louis Herrin III reported raising $689.77.
District 2 Council Member Delia Garza reported raising $20,797. One challenger, Wesley Faulkner reported raising $2,692; while the campaign finance report for the other, Casey Ramos, was not available by deadline.
Read an extended Q&A with the candidates in District 2 and District 4 with this story at mystatesman.com.
Check out our interactive database of all the City Council candidates, featuring biographies and short videos of this year’s contenders, at apps.statesman.com/council-candidate-explorer/election/2016/.