Who paid for Raleigh’s new City Council? | Wake County | Indy Week
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Who paid for Raleigh’s new City Council? 

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If only one person could be declared winner of last Tuesday's Raleigh election, it would have to be Nancy McFarlane. Not only did the mayor easily best Bob Weltzin to secure a third term, but she also cobbled together a working majority on City Council to enact her agenda.

If there was a loser, it was developers, who lost three of their most ardent supporters: Neighborhood activist David Cox defeated longtime councilman John Odom; newcomer Corey Branch ousted Eugene Weeks in Southeast Raleigh; and, following the November runoff, Dickie Thompson will probably take the seat of Wayne Maiorano, a development attorney who declined to run for re-election.

This was not a cheap campaign. Combined, all 18 candidates for mayor and Council raised nearly $1 million; of that, the eight winners accounted for nearly two-thirds, or $676,375. In general, the incumbents raked it in from the development and real estate community as well as the usual array of lawyers and businesspeople. Unsurprisingly, the incumbents who raised the most—McFarlane and Bonner Gaylord—coasted. On the other hand, two of the challengers who raised the least, Branch and Cox, also won, overcoming entrenched incumbents.

We wanted to see who had bankrolled these campaigns, and what that might tell us about the direction the next Council might take. Here you'll find the five biggest donors to each victorious campaign as well as to the campaigns of Thompson and Eddie Woodhouse, who will square off next month. (Two exceptions: We set a threshold at $1,000; since Cox only had one person donate above that level, we only name his biggest backer. Also, six people donated $5,000 to Gaylord, and eight people gave $2,000 to McFarlane. In those cases, we list them all.)

You'll see some familiar—and recurring—names. Raleigh businessman Dean Debnam, of DrunkTown ad fame, gave big to Russ Stephenson; he also donated to McFarlane and Thompson. Developer John Kane hedged his bets and gave at least $1,000 to every candidate except David Cox. Developers Andy Andrews and Gregg Sandreuter gave to many of the incumbents as well, as did media mogul Jim Goodmon and his wife, Barbara. And Mayor McFarlane and her husband, Ron, propped up several of their favorites: They went all in for Kay Crowder and gave significantly to Stephenson, Thompson and Branch, too.

So, did Raleigh end up with the best City Council money can buy? We'll find out soon enough.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane

Votes: 26,677

Dollars per vote: $5.05

click to enlarge mayormcfarlane.jpg

Raised: $126,620.28

Andy Andrews $2,500

CEO, Dominion Realty (developer)

Noteworthy because: Dominion built the 11-story Charter Square building on Fayetteville Street and has plans for another 22-story tower in the works.

Dean Debnam, $2,000

CEO, Workplace Solutions and Public Policy Polling

Noteworthy because: #DrunkTown

Citizens for Grier Martin Committee $2,000

Noteworthy because: Grier Martin, a Raleigh Democrat, serves in the state House of Representatives.

James F. Goodmon $2,000

CEO, Capitol Broadcasting

Noteworthy because: Goodmon is on the Dix Visionaries Board of Directors.

Ann B. Goodnight $2,000

Director of Community Relations at SAS, wife of SAS CEO

Noteworthy because: Serves on the Dix Visionaries Board of Directors

Frank B. Holding Jr. $2,000

Banker, First Citizens Bank

Noteworthy because: Serves on the Dix Visionaries Board of Directors

John Kane, $2,000

CEO, Kane Realty Corporation

Noteworthy because: Developer of North Hills and the Dillon Supply building

Sherwood H. Smith Jr., $2,000

Chairman, Carolina Power and Light Co.

Noteworthy because: Serves on the Dix Visionaries Board of Directors

O. Temple Sloan, Jr., $2,000

Chairman, Trail Creek Investments

Noteworthy because: Serves on the Dix Visionaries Board of Directors

  • We crunch the numbers to find the winners’ biggest backers

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