Campaign spending doesn’t always equal votes

In B.C.’s larger cities, campaign spending may translate to votes, but not in Greater Trail.

In B.C.’s larger cities, campaign spending may translate to votes, but not in Greater Trail.

Aaron Cosbey is a prime example, because the Rossland councillor spent nothing in his inaugural bid for a political seat – and he garnered the most votes in the eight-man race. Of all the Alpine City candidates, the most spent was $450, which was out-of-pocket for advertising, and the average was about $200 for pamphlets and flyers.

A similar trend happened in Warfield when first-time candidate Diane Langman won her seat 70 votes ahead of second place Coun. Shane Ferraro and 222 votes ahead of Tom Milne, an incumbent who grabbed the fourth seat.

She spent $218 on flyers and signs as did Ferraro. Between the other four male candidates, an average of $500 in personal funds was used to cover advertising costs for pamphlets, flyers and signage.

Then comes the 10-person race for six seats on Trail council. All three women candidates won a seat and, besides Sandy Santori, each spent the least amount of cash to advertise in print and on radio.

Lisa Pasin won her seat by a 362 vote margin, with about $2,300 in election expenses. Coun. Kevin Jolly place second, but his expenses rang in at $3,600.

Incumbent Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson took the fifth seat with $1,500 in expenses; and first time candidate Carol Dobie grabbed the final seat, spending $700 to advertise. The average campaign expenses for the Trail male candidates rang it around $3,000 with the exception of Santori, who spent $1,000 for the fourth seat.

Montrose was another community with more candidates than seats for the four-member council plus mayor. However, five of the candidates spent nil to campaign – of those, two won seats, incumbent Cindy Cook and rookie Mark Reid. Rory Steep garnered the most votes in his first political race, although his expenses were well under $20. Incumbent Mary Gay took the fourth seat, though she had the biggest expense, which was $143 on flyers.

Next up is Fruitvale’s civic election, with no mayoral race, but five candidates vying for a seat on the village’s four-member council.

Only one candidate spent nothing to campaign, and he came in with the least number of votes. The average election expenses were around $300, with the exception of Bert Kniss, and incumbent who spent $200, and Tabatha Webber, the second incumbent who listed about $1,000 in expenses.

Of all the region’s municipalities, Salmo had the most candidates seeking a spot on the village’s four member council. Seven of the 12 running, spent zero dollars other than the mandatory $100 nomination fee. Two of those who spent nil grabbed a seat, the other spent $6 on office supplies and the fourth, $25 on incidentals. None of the three incumbents won back a seat, though two of them spent the most money including Janine Haughton, $495, and Merle Hanson, $70, for newspaper and radio ads.

Within School District 20, Trail had a three-way run for two spots on the board of trustees. Incumbent Mark Wilson retained his seat and spent $150 from his own pocket; newcomer Terry Hanik received the most votes, and union support helped fund his $630 advertising campaign.