Do dollars translate into votes?

Trail candidates take different tacks for success in municipal election

Success is not measured by how much money you drop into a campaign according to some new Greater Trail municipal politicians seated after last November’s election.

But campaign expenses released last month may suggest otherwise, with the candidate who earned the most votes in Trail spending more than his counterparts.

“The biggest expense is the energy you put into it,” said Trail councillor Kevin Jolly, who received the strongest results with 1,407 votes from the 1,865 Trail residents who made their way to the polling station. “My attitude was I don’t care what people tell me, I’m running like I’m in last place and I’m going to go full tilt until the bell.”

Jolly topped out with a total of nearly $6,400 spent on his campaign, with monetary and in-kind campaign contributions covering all but approximately $1,000 out of pocket spending.

His message – it’s time for change – resonated with Trail voters, some who were compelled to offer more than a vote.

He tackled marketing through different channels – flyers, brochures, ads at Smoke Eaters’ games and a website – and suspects his expense account will look much smaller during the next election when he doesn’t have to cover start-up fees.

His colleague, Trail councillor Sean Mackinlay, didn’t have to spend nearly as much to get his voice heard.

Mackinlay forked over the least (about $500) out of the Trail candidates who earned a seat and collected just enough ballots (900) to secure a spot.

“Ideas are free and that’s the best part about politics,” he said.

“You don’t win an election by putting up a big sign on the side of the road, you do it by contacting the voters in a face-to-face manner or nowadays in an online manner with Facebook or with a web page.”

Mackinlay led with an “outside perspective,” connecting with individuals using social networking – keeping up with a Facebook forum that still exits today– and driving home an easy-to-approach persona.

He hosted an informal all-candidates forum prior to a scheduled debate to invite residents to meet him in a comfortable setting.

Though his efforts didn’t attract much of a crowd, it did create a buzz.

His story “shows more than anything that it’s not necessarily always about the money that you put into a campaign but it’s about the ideas that are out there.”

Rossland’s youngest councillor – 36-year-old Jody Blomme – kept it even simpler by spreading her ideas through word-of-mouth and keeping an open-door policy. She managed to sneak into office with 473 votes, just enough support to earn the final place on council.

Blomme said she couldn’t swing a heavy campaign, nor did she want to, and only forked over a $25 donation toward the food bank prior to participating in the city’s all-candidates forum.

“I think in a small town, it’s more of a matter of talking to people and letting them know why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’ve done already and really that’s not something that can be written out effectively and distributed,” she said.

The former environment activist is still true to her principals and opted to not print any flyers or brochures to get recognized on the campaign trail.

“I wanted to stand by sustainable ideals to a degree and I wanted to exemplify that,” she said.

Campaign expenses

By legislation, candidates are required to disclose the amount they raised and spent on their campaigns within 120 days of the last election


Trail council:

*Kevin Jolly     $6385.53 ($5339.34 campaign contributions)

*Robert Cacchioni $2662.37

*Rick Georgetti     $2,328.19 ($1066.70 campaign contributions)

Fred Romano     $1,788.24

*Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson  $1636.20

Bryan Deferro     $1485.14

*Gord DeRosa     $1296.26

John Carter     $685.50

*Sean Mackinlay     $496.83

Ray Furlotte     $427.13

Area A director:

*Ali Grieve     $875.93 ($662.05 campaign contributions)

Scott Cohen     $0


Fruitvale mayor:

*Patricia Cecchini     $1,098.01

Gary Moisson     $738.47


Montrose mayor:

*Joe Danchuk     $790.44

Griff Welsh     $146.08

Ron Pylpuik     $0


Rossland council:

*Kathy Moore     $874.73

*Jill Spearn     $235.00

*Kathy Wallace     $92.56 ($92.56 campaign contributions)

*Cary Fisher     $25

*Jody Blomme     $25

Laurie Charlton     $25

*Tim Thatcher     $0

David Klein     $0

Sharon Weider     $0

Bob Chamut     (did not file)

* – elected