Virginia Politics
Posted at 06:42 PM ET, 06/06/2012

Alexandria Democrats raise $343,000 in primary race

Democratic candidates for Alexandria's City Council prepare for a debate. (Patricia Sullivan - The Washington Post)
Alexandria Democrats have raised more than $343,000 in the hotly contested June 12 primary race for City Council, with the biggest share going to a newcomer to electoral politics.

Sean Holihan, in his first run for office, collected $49,750 this year, leading the 14 candidates who are seeking one of the six Democratic nominations. The winners of the primary will face three Republicans and two declared independents in the Nov. 6 general election.

Holihan, who defines himself as a progressive willing to make “smart compromises” on development issues, has led the fundraising pack since announcing his candidacy late last year. Of his 388 contributions, 259 were less than $100.

These numbers come from the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit organization that compiles and distributes via its Web site the campaign contribution reports required by law.

Campaign signs for Alexandria City Council races sprout in median strips on major local streets. (Patricia Sullivan)
Former Alexandria council member Justin Wilson raised $39,106 and planning commissioner Donna Fossum came in third with $36,857 reported contributions. However, $22,202 of that was in a loan from herself; she reported 67 other donations. Former council member Tim Lovain reported raising $33,428, with his biggest donation coming from a friend who owns a seafood processing firm in Neah Bay, Wash.

Allison Silberberg, a writer, who, like Holihan and Fossum and four others, is a rookie candidate, reported $28,306 in receipts. Incumbent Paul Smedberg filled out the top six candidates in terms of fundraising, reporting $21,279. He appears to be confident of a general election campaign, leaving $17,812 unspent by June 1.

Alexandria City Council candidate signs line the walk outside of Hammond Middle School. (Patricia Sullivan - The Washington Post)

Campaign funds are not votes and it’s anyone’s guess who will triumph next Tuesday. The last candidates forum, held Monday at George Washington Middle School, drew about 400 spectators, nearly filling the main floor and balcony seats. The lively exchange among the candidates kept most of the audience there throughout the two-hour event.

The remaining candidates, in order of their fundraising, are:

John Chapman, president of the local NAACP chapter and Fairfax County educator, $21,215; Sammie Moshenberg, a civic activist for 30 years, $19,403; Arthur Peabody, a civil rights attorney and School Board member, $19,400 with a $2,250 loan from Victoria Peabody; Melissa Feld, a former congressional staffer who now consults, $19,199 including a $2,145 loan from Gary Feld; incumbent Del Pepper, $18,207 with $5,000 in loans from herself and her husband; Michael Hepburn, player services coordinator for the NFL Players Association, $17,067 with only himself listed as a contributor, but with 913 contributions under $100; Victoria Menjivar, a Salvadoran immigrant who works at T.C. Williams High School, $15,026; and Boyd Walker, co-founder of the Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, $4,942.

By  |  06:42 PM ET, 06/06/2012

Categories:  Alexandria

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