A preliminary analysis of pre-primary campaign finance reports for the two contested races in the Aug. 6, 2013 Ann Arbor city council Democratic primary shows a total of $29,230 in cash was raised by the four candidates combined, with the average cash contributor donating a bit over $128.
The deadline for filing pre-primary reports was July 26, for the period ending July 21.
Voters in the Democratic primary for Ward 3 will choose between incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand as the Democratic candidate to appear on the November city council ballot. Grand raised the most cash of any candidate, getting donations from 68 contributors averaging about $160 apiece for a total of $10,825.
Kunselman raised $5,855 from 54 contributors. While that’s roughly half what Grand raised, it’s about twice what he received in the pre-primary period in 2011 ($2,750). That was a three-way race between himself, Ingrid Ault and Marwan Issa. The average contribution to Kunselman’s campaign this year was about $110.
In Ward 4, voters will choose between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton. Fourteen-year incumbent Higgins raised the least cash of any candidate, receiving $4,592 from 26 contributors for an average donation of $177.
Eaton raised $7,958 from 82 different contributors for an average donation of $97. That’s the greatest number of individual contributors of any candidate. Eaton’s total this time around is about twice as much as he raised for the same period in 2012 ($4,305), when he ran a close but ultimately unsuccessful race against incumbent Margie Teall.
Of the 228 total contributors for all four candidates (including those who contributed to more than one campaign), The Chronicle counted at least 57 contributions (25%) from people who are either current or past elected or appointed officials – including appointees to committees. Those contributions were evenly distributed across candidates: Eaton (16); Higgins (13); Grand (14); Kunselman (14).
Some current councilmembers have lent their financial support to candidates. Ward 4 challenger Jack Eaton is supported financially by Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jane Lumm (Ward 2). Incumbent Marcia Higgins has financial support from her wardmate Margie Teall as well as mayor John Hieftje.
Ward 3 incumbent Stephen Kunselman is also supported financial by Anglin and Lumm. Julie Grand has received contributions from Higgins and Teall.
Current and past campaign filing documents can be searched and retrieved from the Washtenaw County clerk’s web page. [.pdf of Grand's statements] [.pdf of Eaton's statements] [.pdf of Higgins' statements] [.pdf of Kunselman's statements]
Other coverage of the campaigns is categorized in The Chronicle as “2013 primary election.”
Presented below are charts of contribution counts, broken down by size of contribution, as well as maps showing the geographic distribution of contributions.
Contribution Counts by Size
In recent Democratic primaries, the shape of the distribution of contributions by size has been a possible indicator of success. Specifically, those candidates with a distribution skewed toward a greater number of smaller contributions have been successful.
The maps below do not include contributions made from out of state. For example, members of Ward 3 candidate Julie Grand’s family, who live in Massachusetts, contributed to her campaign.
Contributions in Ward 4 (green) this year continue a trend seen in previous primaries – for many contributions to come from residents who live inside the city but outside the ward. Eaton’s geographic distribution can be identified by the tight cluster of donations in the northwest corner of the ward – where he lives. But his support is evenly distributed across the middle of the city, without regard to ward boundaries.
Based on the geographic distribution of contributions to Higgins’ campaign, it’s not evident which ward the race is in.
In Ward 3 (yellow), both candidates enjoyed some support from outside the ward, but Grand’s support is more clearly centered in the neighborhood where she lives – in Burns Park. She received no contributions in Ward 3 south of Buhr Park. Kunselman’s neighborhood is discernible in the geographic plot, south of Packard and west of Platt.
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