Financial disclosure forms released this week indicate that the special election for City Council has garnered strong support on both sides, despite the unusual summertime scheduling of the campaign. Documents released by the State Board of Elections on Tuesday show that Republican Bill Cleveland had a slight edge on his opponent and raised a total of $47,165 compared to Democrat Justin Wilson’s $41,988 war chest.
"One of the important things to look at is the in-kind contributions," said Mike Lane, a spokesman for the Cleveland campaign. "Our campaign didn’t accept any in-kind donations at all, and our fundraising total is all cash."
Wilson’s disclosure forms show that he received $8,352 worth of in-kind donations. These included $3,312 for newspapers advertisements, donated by the Alexandria Democratic Committee; $1,295 worth of endorsement mailings from Mayor Bill Euille; $320 worth of office space and telephone lines donated by Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota; a $300 portrait from Gunnar Westerlind Photography; and $280 worth of wire frames for signs from Councilman Rob Krupicka.
Lane said that subtracting in-kind donations from Wilson’s total reveals a wider disparity between the two campaigns — with Cleveland raising $13,529 more in cash contributions than Wilson.
"That’s not an accurate way of looking at the difference because these in-kind contributions are real expenses that were donated to the campaign," responded Todd Ruopp, a spokesman for the Wilson campaign. "The only thing these documents show is a slight difference in fundraising totals."
The disclosure forms show that both candidates have contributors including a wide array of lawyers, activists and developers. Bill Cleveland’s biggest contribution was $5,000 from a political action committee created by the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. Other top donors to Cleveland included $3,000 from Commonwealth Republican Women’s Club; $2,500 from Carydale Apartment Management. which owns and manages several residential properties in Alexandria and Arlington; and $2,500 from 2727 LLC, a limited-liability company that uses the same post office box as Carydale Apartment Management.
Wilson’s contributors included $1,000 from the Virginia Leadership political action committee; $1,000 from Jack Taylor Toyota; $1,000 from Sen. Richard Saslaw’s political action committee; $500 from Mayor Bill Euille; $500 from Councilman Rob Krupicka; $250 from Councilman Paul Smedberg; $250 from Smedberg’s politcal action committee; $150 from Councilman Tim Lovain; $500 from Del. Adam Ebbin’s political action committee; $500 from former Councilman David Speck; $275 from former Mayor Kerry Donley; $250 from former Councilman Lonnie Rich; and $250 from former Sheriff Jim Dunning.