Three Durham Mayoral Candidates Have Raised More Than $260,000. Where’s the Money Coming From? | News
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Durham Mayoral Candidates Have Raised More Than $260,000. Where’s the Money Coming From?

Posted by on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:53 PM

This year's mayoral race in Durham is shaping up to be one of the city's most expensive municipal elections yet, as candidates vie to set the tone of the Bull City after sixteen years of Mayor Bill Bell's leadership.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports—which cover campaign contributions through August 29—Farad Ali's account holds $109,484.86; Pierce Freelon's, $96,676.59; and Steve Schewel's, $74,074.50. Other candidates in the race have raised no more than $1,600.

With so much cash flowing into the election, we decided to map where each of those donations is coming from. In order to do this, we deducted aggregated individual donations, for which no address is required. Donations fall in this category if the donor has given $50 or less in the election. We also removed payments a candidate made into his own account.

Click on the square next to each candidate's name to see the map legend. Note that the legends on each of these maps are slightly different. (Sorry, it's automatic, take it up with Google.) Individual campaign contributions in North Carolina are capped at $5,200. Click on a pin to see more information about the donation and the donor.


Ali received
 $99,438.52 in individual donations, plus another $1,671 in aggregated individual donations not shown on this map. Of that, 51.9 percent came from Durham addresses. The average contribution to Ali's campaign was $418.

Ali served one term on the city council, from 2007–11, and is currently the president and CEO of the Institute of Minority Economic Development. He has won the endorsement of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, Friends of Durham, and the North Carolina Sheriff Police Alliance.


Freelon has receive
d $89,456.99 in individual donations. (His campaign reports don't list any aggregated individual contributions.) Of that total, 47.2 percent came from Durham residents. His average donation was $229.64.

Freelon is a musician, professor, and founder of the digital maker space Blackspace. He has been endorsed by Launch Progress, Run for Something, The Collective PAC, and Equality NC, which has also endorsed Schewel in the same race.


Schewel received individual donations totaling $69,497, plus another $4,577.50 in aggregated contributions. Durham residents contributed 79.7 percent. The average donation to Schewel's campaign was $227.11. He has pledged to raise no more than 25 percent of his campaign funds from outside Durham, and so far, he’s done that.

Schewel has served on the city council since 2011 and would retain his seat even if he is not elected mayor. He also served on the Durham Public Schools board of education for four years. He founded this newspaper and sold it in 2012. In addition to the Equality NC endorsement, he has the backing of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, Triangle Labor Council, and the People's Alliance.

Early voting ahead of the municipal primary begins Thursday. Check out hours and sites here. A primary election on October 10 will narrow the field down to the two candidates who receive the most votes. Those candidates will move on to the general election on November 7.

The INDY’s endorsements in Durham, Raleigh, and Cary municipal elections will be released Wednesday.

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