Councillor Campaign $ Disclosure

Local election disclosure statements are now available from the 2014 election. They are hosted on the Elections BC website.

This is my review of costs disclosed by Council Candidates for the City of Victoria 2014 municipal election. Of the 25 candidates who ran in the campaign, the top 8 with the most votes were elected to Council. The focus of the analysis presented in this article is on those 8 candidates who were successfully elected.

 Council Candidates Cost Per Vote

Cost per candidate

Who got how many votes?

    • Ben Isitt = 14,729 ($1.80 per vote)
    • Charlayne Thornton-Joe = 12,046 ($.67 per vote)
    • Marianne Alto = 12,016 ($2.24 per vote)
    • Jeremy Loveday = 10,852 ($2.07 per vote)
    • Pam Madoff = 10,354 ($1.10 per vote)
    • Geoff Young = 9,934 ($.85 per vote)
    • Margaret Lucas = 8,145 ($1.70 per vote)
    • Chris Coleman = 8,017 ($.95 per vote)

But what about the unsuccessful candidates?

  • Saul Anderson = 1,183($.07 per vote)
  • Jonathon Carroll = 1,739 ($.37 per vote)
  • Steve Filopvic = 3,856 ($.38 per vote)
  • Hilary Groos = 6,653 ($1.67 per vote)
  • James Harasymow = 764 ($.03 per vote)
  • Ian Hoar = 3,466 ($.49 per vote)
  • Erik Kaye = 7295 ($2.43 per vote)
  • John Luton = 6,850 ($1.18 per vote)
  • Gordon Mackinnon = 1,134 ($.41 per vote)
  • Ryan Moen = 2,108 ($.09 per vote)
  • Sean Murray = 1,897 ($.40 per vote)
  • Jeffrey Olafson = 1,693 ($.09 per vote)
  • Andrew Reeve = 4,336 ($1.63 per vote)
  • Paul Servos = 2,577 ($.64 per vote)
  • Justin Stephenson = 5,268 ($3.92 per vote)
  • Douglas Stewart = 1,107 ($1.59 per vote)

Contribution Sources for Council Candidates

Council funding source

Some interesting trends emerged when looking at contribution sources, with the most obvious trend being that NDP affiliated Council candidates received significant union backing which ranged from $1,150 for Pam Madoff to $13,464 for Ben Isitt. That Ben Isitt was the only successful candidate to disclose  zero business funding was also intriguing.

I had wondered what Release of Campaign funds identified by Councillor Madoff were, but it seems that it just left over funds from the 2011 election. I never realized the city held those funds.

It should also be noted that from a funding perspective, Councillor Young was the only successful council candidate to disclose that he was major contributor (63%) to his campaign. Councillor Alto also contributed a significant amount of money (18%) to her own campaign. One other thing of note about Councillor Alto is that her disclosure forms contain many of her own made up spreadsheets for contributions and expenses- not the template sheets filled out by everyone else.

Contribution Type of Council Candidates

Council Significant Contributions

Compared to their mayoral candidate counterparts, there appears to have been a higher likelihood of smaller campaign contributions to council candidates. In then looking at this graph and the disclosure forms of unsuccessful candidates (e.g., Justin Stephenson, Erik Kaye and Hilary Groos) it becomes evident that money spent by council candidates does not ensure a strong correlation with votes on election day.

Advertising Spending by Advertising Type

Council Advertising

This was the most interesting graph for me when looking at how successful council candidates spent their money because it really highlights how there is no one successful way to get elected as a councillor in the city of Victoria. Everyone had their own way.

Some observations:

Everyone reported costs for brochures, pamphlets and flyers but not everyone (e.g., Lucas and Young) reported large postage costs which ranged from $1,539.60 for Thornton-Joe to $4,998.30 for  Alto.

Loveday and Alto spent the most on internet related advertising (e.g., websites and google ads) while Coleman and Madoff spent $0.

Alto, Lucas, Madoff and Young spent significant amounts of money on newspaper, magazine and journal ads while Coleman, Loveday and Isitt spent $0.

Only three candidates (Alto, Coleman, and Madoff) spent money on radio.

Money spent on signs and billboards varied wildly between candidates ranging from $0 for Coleman to $4,065.90 for Isitt.

Isitt plunked an additional $1,120 in the other advertising category – for what I am not sure.

Total advertising costs varied significantly:

  • Marianne Alto = $20.206.38
  • Jeremy Loveday = $15,531.88
  • Margaret Lucas = $13,512,94
  • Ben Isitt = $11,998.40
  • Pam Madoff = $10,973.64
  • Charlayne Thornton-Joe = $7,038.44
  • Chris Coleman = $6,807.76
  • Geoff Young = $6,673

Campaign Administration by Cost Type

Council Admin by Cost

This graph was intriguing as it clearly demonstrated very different campaign styles – Ben Isitt for instance was the only council candidate to disclose significant costs for staff and professional services. Isitt also got the most votes at the polls.

From a dedicated campaign perspective, Isitt, Loveday and Alto were the only ones to disclose costs for rent, insurance and utilities with reported figures ranging from $474 to $2,642.42 for Alto – of note, is that this figure is slightly more than what Mayoral candidate Stephen Andrew reported ($2,554) and slightly less than what Dean Fortin reported ($2,736.70) spending for their large campaign offices.

The amount of money spent on office supplies ranged tremendously between candidates from a low of $20 for Geoff Young to a high of $1,126.55 for Alto.

Alto, Isitt and Loveday reported varying amounts in the other campaign cost category that ranged from 752.91 for Loveday to $5,000.49 for Isitt.

Loveday was the only one who reported costs for research and polling.

General Observations

Everybody filled out their forms their own ways because the Disclosure Statement Completion Guide for Local Election Candidates provided really was not detailed. Given the recent push for campaign transparency in local elections, one would assume that there would be an associated requirement that cost categories be clearly defined so as to ensure equality in reporting.

Guess not.

Direct Links to Council Candidate Disclosure Forms

Unsuccessful Council Candidates






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