Pre-primary campaign finance reports for the May 2 primary election were due on Friday by noon.
When added to the year-end reports from 2022, the reports filed by the Democratic Party’s three candidates for mayor of Bloomington show that they have raised a total of about $327,000.
If election turnout for the May 2 primary is similar to the last couple of cycles, around 5,000 voters will cast a ballot. If the candidates spend every dollar before the election, that works out to about $65 invested in each voter.
Raising the most of the three was Kerry Thomson. The roughly $106,000 that she raised from Jan. 1 through April 7 this year brought her overall total to just under $200,000.
In this year’s pre-primary period, Don Griffin raised $47,000, bringing his total to about $73,000.
Susan Sandberg raised about $30,000 in this year’s pre-primary period, bringing her total to about $55,000.
Sandberg and Thomson formed committees and started fundraising in June last year. Griffin got a later start, in December, because incumbent mayor John Hamilton did not announce that he wasn’t seeking reelection until mid-November.
Here’s a breakdown of how much each candidate has raised so far and when, based on a shared Google Sheet—compiled by The B Square and cross-checked against totals listed on the campaign filings for each candidate.
|2022 Annual Itemized||$25,774||$18,879||$84,427|
|2022 Annual Unitemized||$213||$6,338||$8,401|
|Pre-Primary 2023 Itemized||$45,538||$21,952||$98,167|
|Pre-Primary 2023 Unitemized||$1,835||$7,781||$7,674|
|Pre-Primary 2023 Total||$47,373||$29,733||$105,841|
Geographic source of donations
The B Square used “Bloomington addresses” as a kludged proxy for local contributions. That method will include more donations than are strictly inside the city’s municipal boundaries.
Sandberg received 96 percent of her money from local donors. Of Thomson’s money, 77 percent came from local donors. Griffin received about 64 percent of his contributions from locals.
Here’s a link: dynamic Google map with donation plots. The donations for each candidate can be toggled on and off.
The contributions of donors who give a total of less than $100 don’t have to be itemized on campaign finance sheets. That means numbers of donors based on the itemized contributions will necessarily reflect an undercount.
Based on the itemized contributions, across the two reporting periods so far, 200 unique donors have contributed to the Thomson campaign, which works out to an average donor giving around $913.
For Griffin, 99 unique donors gave to his campaign, which means the average Griffin donor gave $720.
Sandberg received donations from 78 unique donors, averaging $523 per donor.
Of the $198,669 that Thomson has raised, almost half (47 percent of it) has been spent on consulting, branding, strategy, and campaign management, according to her campaign filings. The breakdown looks like this: Berlin Rosen ($67,021); Doyle Strategy Group ($5,000); Jeff Harris ($12,000); and Jacob Schwartz ($9,000), for a total of $93,021.
Berlin Rosen is a public relations firm that specializes in strategic communications. Doyle Strategy Group is a public affairs and communications firm. Jeff Harris is an independent consultant for communications and branding. Jacob Schwartz is Thomson’s campaign manager.
Griffin’s campaign has spent around $20,000 on strategy and public relations: Change Media Group ($6,279); Justin Crossley ($1,000); Laffoon Design and Marketing ($1,050); Ryan Still ($1,500); Gusto ($10,969).
Change Media Group is a strategic communications and digital media agency. Justin Crossley produces and directs videos—he’s currently the city of Bloomington’s digital brand manager. Laffoon Design and Marketing is a marketing and ad agency. Ryan Still is the campaign’s field coordinator. Griffin told The B Square Gusto is a payroll company—also used by his real estate company—through which the campaign pays its campaign manager, Anna Dubois.
The only expenditure that appears to fit into the general category of branding and public relations for the Sandberg campaign is a $3,000 in-kind item from Caroline Dowd-Higgins, for executive coaching and consulting.
Links to Campaign Finance Filings