Decision Apopka 2018
By Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice
A campaign, in many ways, is like a business.
It manages assets (contributions) and liabilities (expenses) in its pursuit of a profit. And in this case, a profit is the majority of the votes cast in an election.
How a campaign differs from business is that only one candidate is successful. There is only room for one winner in this industry. Two great companies like Coke and Pepsi or Apple and Microsoft cannot coexist, and small businesses in the same industry (election) netting a small market share are little more than an afterthought.
There’s also an absolute certainty that a political campaign will go out of business on election day – win or lose.
With that said it only makes sense that campaigns do a lot of spending in the last days of an election. And the business of politics was good in Apopka these last few weeks.
From the beginning of January until the first week of February, the 10 candidates running for Apopka mayor and city commission both raised and spent contributions at a record clip.
329 donors gave the candidates $72,464.67 in the first five weeks of 2018, which is an astounding 34% of the entire fundraising haul of all campaigns. And despite the record month of fundraising, spending outmatched it.
Going into the last month of the election, the 10 candidates for elected office in Apopka spent $83,564.48, which is 39% of everything collected in the entire election cycle. After this spending spree, the candidates only have 30% of everything they raised for the entire campaign season for the stretch run.
And no one exemplified the breakneck pace of raising and spending than mayoral candidate Bryan Nelson.
Nelson, the Orange County Commissioner for District 2, led all candidates with 60 donors giving him $16,240. This pushes his total contributions to $69,675, which also leads all candidates in the five-week period ending February 9th, Nelson spent $23,157.87. This leaves him with $18,981.31, the most of any candidate.
Not far behind was incumbent Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, who had 53 donors contribute $12,635, which gives him $65,485 in total contributions. Kilsheimer also spent at a high rate in the five-week period, 24,878.19, which leaves him with $13,001 for the final month of the campaign.
In the Seat #1 race, Alexander Smith followed the raise and spend trend by raising $7166.67 and spending $8376.88. It was his best month of fundraising and the first time he led the period since Suzanne Kidd entered the race. Smith had 48 donors, which is also his personal best. He is left with $1563.97 in his campaign coffers.
Kidd continued her consistent fundraising with 46 donors giving her $4295. She remained the Seat #1 leader in total contributions with $20,981 and has $11,130.84 on hand which far exceeds her Seat #1 opponents heading into the stretch run. Kidd spent $5,476.14 during the period.
Gene Knight, also a Seat #1 candidate, had 10 donors contribute $1,570 to bring his total to $3,147.73. Knight spent $1,976.76 and has $123.44 left in his campaign account.
Theresa Mott, also running for Seat #1, raised $3,355 from five donors, which brings her total campaign contributions up to $6,980.84. Mott spent $999.84 on her campaign this period and has $5,746.79 left in her campaign account.
In the Seat #2 race, challenger Alice Nolan led the way after only one month on the campaign trail, raising $14,835 from 49 donors. That is also her total contributions figure, and after spending $11,709.70 this period has $3,125.30 on hand. Nolan leads all Seat #2 candidates for the period and for total contributions.
Incumbent Commissioner (Seat #2) Diane Velazquez also got off to a late fundraising start, but raised $7,470 from 33 donors during the period, bringing her total contributions up to $9,450. After spending $4,904.38 during the period, she has $4,542.62 for the final month of the campaign, which is the most of any Seat #2 candidate.
Leroy Bell, also a Seat #2 challenger, raised $4,130 this period from 18 donors, which increases his total contributions to $6,130. Bell spent $1,544.72 this period and has $3,684.18 on hand.
Alicia Koutsoulieris, also running for Seat #2, raised $768 from seven donors this period, which raises her total contributions to $868. Koutsoulieris spent $540 this period which leaves her with $328 in her account.
Election day in Apopka is March 13th.