Saturday, January 28, 2023

Late-game campaign finance reports disclosed in last year’s local races

Campaign finance reports from the final weeks of the election cycle have been disclosed. (Port City Daily/File)

WILMINGTON — Another deadline for campaign finance disclosures has passed, revealing what local candidates raised and spent in the two weeks leading up to election day. Candidates were not required to report their cash flow from the final weeks until last week, nearly three months after races wrapped up. 

According to filings with the state board of elections, Bill Saffo, mayor of Wilmington, raised $242,000 throughout the election cycle in his re-election campaign against Harper Peterson (Peterson received $70,000 total during the campaign).

In Saffo’s 2019 race against Devon Scott, the mayor raised $59,000 in contributions. In 2021, he eclipsed that figure in the final two weeks of the race alone, in the leadup to Nov. 2, with $62,000 in reported fundraising. 

Among Saffo’s biggest late-game donors was the N.C. Realtors PAC, which provided $5,600 to his committee. Five individuals also gave Saffo $5,000 each, including the CEO of a Virginia-based multi-family development firm.

READ MORE: Saffo banked big in summertime fundraising, so did a few council candidates

In the late window, he scored $1,500 from a fund associated with the Police Benevolent Association. There was also $2,000 from the N.C. Home Builders Association PAC and $2,500 from PPD founder Fred Eshelman

With those funds, between Oct. 19 and election day, Saffo’s committee dedicated $23,200 to postcards and postage, $6,000 to a Raleigh company for public polling, $3,200 to buy telephone numbers for a texting campaign, and more. 

His campaign manager’s firm got $20,000 for fees and compensation, and a campaign consultant was paid $4,000 in the final weeks of the race, according to campaign finance reports. 

Luke Waddell, a first-time candidate to city council who earned the highest ballot count, raised $9,200 in the final weeks of the race. Throughout the course of the entire election cycle, his committee brought in nearly $85,000. His biggest late-game donor was Adam Sosne, a principal at McAdams Homes, who gave $5,000, according to campaign finance reports. 

Charlie Rivenbark, an incumbent city council candidate who placed second in the vote count, raised around $78,600 during the election cycle. Between Oct. 25 and election day, he brought in nearly $12,700. After the election, according to dates in reports, Rivenbark’s committee made donations to various charities, nonprofits, political entities and other organizations in the area: $500 to Temple of Israel on Market Street, $50 to Boys Town, $250 to a domestic violence shelter, and around a dozen more. 

The latest fundraising information from other candidates — like Clifford Barnett Sr. (third place), Paul Lawler (fourth) and Jonathan Uzategui (fifth) — are not yet available. 

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