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In Raleigh Council race, pursestrings are tight

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Judging by their Aug. 26 campaign finance reports (see below), some Raleigh City Council candidates are very short on friends or no good at asking people for help.

Case in point: District B challenger John Odom. With just three weeks until the start of early voting, Sept. 17, Odom—a conservative Republican who formerly held this Council seat—reported having raised just $350. His expenditures: $11.05. (The report didn't say for what—maybe a checkbook?)

Councilor Rodger Koopman, the District B incumbent and a Democrat, raised $2,450. But his campaign is somewhat flush because of money he loaned to it—Koopman for Council owed Koopman $24,898.

In District C, incumbent Democrat James West raised just $1,396. Did he think he would run unopposed? Perhaps, because his only opponent, Republican Charles Reisinger, filed the form that says he won't raise or spend more than $3,000, meaning he doesn't need to file additional reports until the election's over.

In District E, where Republican Philip Isley is stepping down, Isley's chosen successor, planning commission member Bonner Gaylord, raised $16,995 and, frugal fellow that he appears to be, still had $16,886 in the bank. His opponent, fellow planning commission member Waheed Haq, also took the less than $3,000 pledge.

In the "race" for mayor, meanwhile, Mark Enloe and Gregg Kunz filed the less-than-$3,000 form. And Mayor Charles Meeker, a Democrat, raised $1,225, giving him an election year total of $39,573. He's spent $43,308, including $12,000 on campaign consultant Perry Woods. With his leftover '07 campaign money, Meeker has $23,553 to fend off his mystery challengers.

Only in the hotly contested District D election were there candidates with significant contributions. Democratic incumbent Thomas Crowder raised $25,956 and reported cash on hand of $18,571. Crowder's backers included numerous neighborhood leaders but also one of the region's leading businessmen, Capital Broadcasting Co. CEO Jim Goodmon ($500) plus developers Greg Hatem of Empire Properties ($2,500) and John Boylan of Spectrum Properties ($500).

Crowder's Democratic opponent, Ted Van Dyk, raised $20,626, with developers and neighborhood folks on his list. Van Dyk's biggest backer: Glenwood South restaurateur Niall Hanley ($2,500).

In the at-large race, incumbent Democrats Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson came in with respectable if not flashy totals: Baldwin, $29,821, and Stephenson, $24,142.

Baldwin's notable contributors include Ken Eudy, president of the powerhouse lobbying and public relations firm Capstrat, for $2,167, and Sig Hutchinson, a leader in the parks and transit communities, at $1,000.

Stephenson's supporters were less well-heeled but more numerous, and included former state environmental chief Bill Holman, now at Duke University, at $275. Stephenson's biggest backer is Lee Folger III, former Cameron Park Neighborhood Association president, who gave $1,041. Among the smallest: State Treasurer Janet Cowell, a former Council member and legislator, who pitched in $50.

Their two opponents raised far less. Republican Champ Claris, a realtor, reported just $4,394 in contributions, including a $500 check from real estate developer Gregg Sandreuter and $250 from former Mayor Smedes York, owner of York Properties, a real estate firm.

Lee Sartain actually raised less, though his report doesn't say so initially. He lists his own, in-kind contribution for services putting up his campaign Web site as worth $30,000. Another $1,000 is listed as the in-kind value of donated campaign photos. Beyond that, however, Sartain has a single $1,000 check (from William Spruill, who lives on North Boundary Street), and four $100 checks.

Disclosure: Bob Geary's wife, Pam Wilson, contributed $320 to Crowder, $100 to Stephenson.

August campaign finance reports

These 35-day reports cover contributions and disbursements from mid-July to Aug. 31.

Cary Town Council

Catherine Evangelista and Terry Thorne filed the form stating they would not raise or spend more than $3,000.

Raleigh Mayor

Mark Enloe, Larry Hudson and Gregg Kunz made the $3,000 pledge.

Raleigh City Council

Ted Van Dyk's financial report had been lost and was not in the file. It is expected to be re-filed.

Wake School Board

Karen Simon's and Deborah Vair's campaign finance 35-day report forms were not in the Wake Board of Elections file. Carlene Lucas filed the form stating she would not raise or spend more than $3,000.

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