Democrat and Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion has more cash on hand than Republican challenger Mark Grimm, but both have raised a similar amount of money since campaign season got underway.
Seven-term incumbent Runion reported a closing balance of almost $23,100 in his campaign’s July financial disclosure filed with the state Board of Elections, while Grimm reported just over $8,200. Runion has raised approximately $8,860 since January, but Grimm’s contributions were on par with Runion for that period at $8,166.
Grimm said the figures show a strong support from the public, but Runion discounted the concept fundraising is a measure of public approval. Runion said a committee raises funds for his campaign and he isn’t personally involved in his campaign’s fundraising efforts.
“The committee has done some good fundraising activities and I think we will have enough to manage the campaign during the 2013 season,” Runion said.
He claimed his campaign literature also doesn’t solicit money, while Grimm’s literature does ask people to offer monetary support.
Grimm said incumbents are usually well ahead of challengers in terms of money, so he was pleased to see his fundraising so close to Runion’s.
“That shows me not only that I have support, but they think I can win,” Grimm said. “People really generally believe in me and think I have a good chance of winning.”
Runion, however, scoffed at the idea of finances as a support barometer.
“I do think there is any correlation between those types of fundraising activities,” Runion said. “At the end of the day it is public opinion that matters.”
Last election, Runion ran unopposed for his seventh term as Guilderland supervisor. His war chest stood at almost $16,100 at the start of the year.
Despite their interpretation of the significance of the reports, both candidates agreed fundraising is a necessary part of getting their message out to voters.
“You constantly have to work on fundraising, that is the nature of politics,” Grimm said. “It is shame but that is how it is.”
Runion said fundraising is a “necessary part” of the political process.
“You have to raise a certain amount of money to get your message out to the electorate, so we all have to raise an amount of money to do that,” Runion said.
Runion said he has not personally started a door-to-door campaign yet because he is “very busy” working for the town, including on preliminary efforts to craft next year’s budget. He said it is “kind of early” to be campaigning, but some supporters have distributed his campaign literature.
“I intend to run a very active campaign,” Runion said. “By the end of the campaign I will have visited a large number of homes and I will have put out a decent amount of literature … I think my record will stand for itself.”
Grimm, who previously pledged to knock on 10,000 doors, said his campaign is off to a strong start and estimated he has visited 2,700 homes. He said meeting face-to-face with residents is vital to gain support from voters.
“There are very few candidates willing to work how hard as I do,” Grimm said. “I think my commitment speaks for itself.”
Runion said he believes the support he’s received over the years isn’t waning, but said it would be “very foolish” to take any election for granted.
“Over the years I have had strong support from the community and I will continue to have strong support through the community, and we will have an active election season,” Runion said. “Nobody can really gauge what the support is until the final ballot is cast.”
Grimm received $1,300 from family members and two individual contributions for $1,000 each, with 16 other individual donations ranging mostly from $100 to $200. He received one corporate donation totaling $500 from Association Development Group in Albany. His expenses for the filing period totaled $1,320.
Runion received 18 individual contributions during the same period, with most ranging from $100 to $250. Runion also received eight contributions from partnerships totaling $2,500 and five corporate donations totaling $1,500. His expenses totaled almost $1,875.