Primary ballots will be sent out this week and most people will probably get them in the mail on Thursday.
The main races are mayor as well as Ward 1. Ward 6 also has a primary, but since they only have two candidates, both will advance regardless of how the vote goes.
Not so for mayor and Ward 1. We talked about the mayoral race a couple days ago. Today, let’s focus on Ward 1.
There are four candidates:
- Jennifer Savage
- Kevin Hunt
- Sheena Winterer
- Jane VanFossen
I don’t know much about any of these folks. I did look into their finances back in July, and I wrote about them all then.
Winterer has about $700 in the bank right now. She spent nearly $900 this past month, mostly on candidate T-shirts and large yard signs. Heather Harp is one of her donors.
Hunt received $8,500 over the past month, spent about $5,400 and now has $3,400 in the bank. Most of his spending was for a mass-mailer of about 6,000 campaign brochures. That cost him about $5,000.
In the days since that report came out, he’s filed two additional reports, listing about $2,500 more to send out around 6,000 postcards.
$8,400 of Hunt’s campaign money comes from donations to himself, which are listed as loans. Hunt has been running since March, but since that time, just one individual has donated to his campaign.
Personally, I find Hunt’s highbrow way of speaking in comments a bit off putting, and I suspect others feel the same.
We weren’t able to find a report for VanFossen in July, but it’s now up. That month, she raised nearly $2,000...all of it loans to herself. In the most recent report, she raised another $25,000…$24,000 of which are loans to herself. Alan Ault and Lynn Hellegaard are some of her donors.
She’s spent about $7,000 to send out 1,500 postcards. She’s also giving thousands to Spiker Communications for social media and other campaign work, like yard signs. Remember, this was the outfit that ran Lisa Triepke’s campaign for mayor in ‘17.
Finally, we have Jennifer Savage. She raised $835 for the month and spent $2,100 and now has about $800 in the bank. Dan Kemmis and Bryan Von Lossberg are some of her donors.
Most of her money went to a firm in Massachusetts for 3,000 postcards and 100 yard signs.
It’s clear that Hunt and VanFossen are winning the money game...but only because they’re self-funding. Very few actual Missoulians believe in them enough to donate to their cause.
Savage and Winterer have no hope of catching-up to those two on the money front. The thing with Savage is, she’s got the support of Engen and therefore the Dem machine, so I’ve always viewed her as the frontrunner.
VanFossen is working closely with the Elder campaign, hoping to get him elected. Hunt eagerly sought the Dem nomination when they met several weeks ago, but I don’t know if they ever did so. Both of these two are relying on mass-mailers to get elected.
Funny, because from my experience...most people throw political mailers right into the garbage can next to the mailbox.
And let’s talk about the cost of this junk mail for a moment. Clearly, Hunt got the better deal. He spent $7,500 to send out 12,000 pieces of mail, compared to the $7,000 VanFossen spent to send out 1,500 pieces.
I think we know which candidate is better with money. But as usual, the real winners are the printing companies and the post office (though Wes Spiker is sure making out like a bandit).
I really have no idea who’s going to win this primary, but if I had to give an answer right now, I’d say Jennifer Savage will probably win it, and Hunt or VanFossen will probably come in second, allowing them to advance to the general in November.
But anything can happen. We’ll find out on September 14.