Financial information for 2022 municipal election candidates released

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya.

The City of Kingston’s election office has released the completed financial forms for the majority of candidates from the 2022 municipal elections, providing a glimpse into what it costs to run for local office.

A look at the filings from the four candidates for mayor reveals a significant gap in fundraising and spending between Bryan Paterson and his three opponents. It should be noted that for the 2022 mayoral election, officials imposed a spending limit of $88,654.60 for all candidates.

In total, Paterson raised $61,387.95 on his way to gaining 74.29 per cent of the vote and winning his third term as mayor. In terms of expenses, Paterson’s campaign spent just over $48,000, the biggest expense coming in the form of $16,875.02 for salaries, benefits, and honoraria.

Paterson’s team also spent more than $10,000 on advertising and $13,386.24 in expenses not subject to spending limits, such as accounting and auditing costs. With multiple campaigns under his belt, Paterson was able to reuse certain supplies from previous elections, including $8,000 worth of signs purchased during his 2014 campaign.

In terms of fundraising efforts to offset the cost of running for office, Paterson’s campaign brought in more than $52,000 in donations of $100 or more from 70 individuals. Of those who donated more than $100 to the incumbent’s campaign, 26 gave the provincially-mandated maximum individual contribution of $1,200.

As for how Paterson’s filing compared to his opponents, the three other candidates combined brought in just $4,734.57 — more than $47,000 less than what Paterson alone raised. A similar disparity in spending was also reported, with the opponents’ combined expenses coming in at a modest $4,423.75 compared to Paterson’s $48,001.71. 

A full breakdown of financial reports from 2022 mayoral candidates is as follows:

  • Bryan Paterson – Income: $61,387.95, Expenses: $61,387.95
  • Skyler McArthur-O’Blenes – Income: $3,241.07, Expenses: $3,221.71
  • Ivan Stoiljkovic – Income: $1,493.50, Expenses: $1,493.50
  • Tina Fraser – Did not accept any contributions or incur any expenses.

Individual council races much closer than mayoral battle

While the battle for mayor saw a significant gap in fundraising between the winner and his opponents, the races for individual City Council seats were much closer, with just several thousand dollars separating the top two candidates in the majority of races. The closest contest in terms of campaign income was in the Meadowbrook-Strathcona District, where two-time incumbent and eventual winner Jeff McLaren brought in just $163 dollars more than second-place finisher Michael Murphy.

In many council races, individual candidates played a role in financing their own campaigns. Of the candidates who filed financial statements, 30 reported that they or their spouse contributed to their campaigns. The biggest self-investment came from Loyalist-Cataraqui District candidate Paul Chaves, who spent $5,794.76 himself.

While most candidates received at least some money from supporters, Sydenham District candidate Paul Joseph Charbonneau’s campaign was completely self-financed.

The majority of candidates combined their own spending with contributions from supporters, with election laws requiring campaigns to report all donations in excess of $100. Twenty-three candidates received individual donations of more than $100; Loyalist-Cataraqui District candidate Jacqui Collier brought in the most with $12,275.00 in donations. Collier received a total of 20 contributions in excess of $100, including four separate donations of the maximum $1,200.

Interestingly, Collier’s campaign brought in more than twice as much money as that of her rival and eventual winner Chaves, whose team raised $6,494.76. Of the more than $13,000 in income reported by Collier’s campaign, $ 865.37 came from the candidate herself.

The following candidates for City Council reported no contributions or expenses:

  • Gary Oosterhof – Countryside District (Acclaimed)
  • Keaton Zandbergen – Kingscourt-Rideau District
  • Rob Fonger – Williamsville District
  • Alexandria Liu – King’s Town District

In terms of campaign spending, the 2022 municipal election was a costly one for contenders, as most campaigns reported over $1,000 in expenses. While Loyalist-Cataraqui District candidate Collier led the way in terms of fundraising, she also had the single most expensive campaign in 2022, spending $13,215.37, compared to the $4,929.93 reported by her opponent, Chaves.

The race between Collier and Chaves — which almost resulted in a recount due to the small margin of votes between them — was one of just three contests where the winner was outspent by the competition. In Lakeside District, incumbent Wayne Hill spent more than twice as much as challenger Wendy Stephen, yet still lost his seat.

The most surprising disparity in expenses occurred in Portsmouth District, where fifth-place finisher Zachary Typhair reportedly spent $6,613.78, while winner Don Amos’s campaign cost $4,891.74. In all other contested seats where more than one candidate filed a financial statement, the eventual winner spent the most money.

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive race overall in 2022 was in Loyalist-Cataraqui, with Chaves and Collier combining to spend over $18,000. Meanwhile, the least expensive of the 12 seems to have occurred in Sydenham District, with the four candidates’ combined expenses coming in at $7,508.44. It is possible that the candidates in King’s Town District spent less money overall than their Sydenham District counterparts. However, it is difficult to say for certain, as second-place finisher Keith Bilow’s form is currently missing the pages pertaining to spending and fundraising.

Bilow is not the only candidate whose statement is missing key details or has otherwise not been filed. As of publication, a total of six candidates have yet to file their financial statements.

A complete list of financial statements from the 2022 municipal elections filed thus far can be found on the City of Kingston’s election results website.

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