Meeker limited individual contributions in '99 to $1,000, and raised $87,000. This time, he will take what the law allows--$4,000. "I'm not anticipating a lot of that," Meeker says. "But I need to be competitive with my opponent."
Too bad. A progressive candidate should be able to campaign the old-fashioned way, rejecting big-money donations and appealing to the grassroots and neighborhood interests, which is what Meeker plans. Raleigh needs a mayor, he says, who'll be a leader on development issues, and who will join the mayors of Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill in planning for future growth and transportation in the region, as Coble has not.
It is the case, however, that Coble's re-election committee is dominated by developers and folks who work for developers, notably including Lacy Reaves, the lawyer who represents the controversial Coker Towers rezoning application in central Raleigh. Coble raised $327,000 last time and it would have been more if Grant hadn't run. Look for Coble to challenge her record this year.
Meeker, at least, is repeating his pledge not to take money from anyone who does regular business with the city--developers and their lawyers, for instance. But he was stung last time by Fanjul's assertion that, as between the two progressive candidates, she was running a professional campaign and could win, and he wasn't and couldn't. This time, Meeker wants to keep other candidates from splitting his vote by sending an early and forceful message: He'll do what it takes.