Evans comes on strong in D.C. mayoral race fundraising, but Bowser retains cash edge

October 11, 2013

With the District’s mayoral race now less than six months away, the candidates’ combined fundraising has approached $2 million, reports filed with campaign finance authorities Thursday show.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has taken the lead in total receipts, raising nearly $392,000 since August. But council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) retains a roughly $100,000 advantage in cash on hand, raising $228,000 in the same period while spending considerably less than Evans.

A third council member, Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), reported receipts of $103,407, while former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis, also a Democrat, raised $92,554.

Bowser’s current total of $597,684 has been bolstered by strong fundraising from real estate developers, city contractors and small donors. Evans, with $497,607 on hand, padded his recent haul with checks from real estate and construction companies, as well as law firms. Those include his own firm, Patton Boggs, whose employees donated a combined $9,750.

Evans said he is “feeling good” about his fundraising pace and said he is halfway toward his $1.5 million goal. He also said his fast-paced spending — $271,357 thus far vs. Bowser’s $96,772 — has been a wise investment.

“We’ve done enormous outreach,” he said. “We’ve got posters up in every corner of the city. I don’t see anybody else there.”

Wells, who now has $137,315 in his account, has eschewed corporate donors and sought to highlight his high volume of small donors rather than his overall fundraising total. “I’ve got everything I need to run a smart campaign,” he said Tuesday.

Lewis, with $78,819, has tapped a network of Clinton administration figures, including former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers and “New Democrat” strategist Al From.

The reports show that the four candidates are in good positions to wage citywide campaigns ahead of the April 1 primary election. The focus will soon turn to gathering signatures on ballot petitions, which will be circulated starting Nov. 8.

A fifth candidate, businessman Christian Carter, has a negative campaign balance after reporting receipts of $1,879 — most of it in-kind contributions from Carter.

Still unknown is whether incumbent Vincent C. Gray (D) will enter the race. He said as recently as Thursday night that he remains undecided on whether he will seek a second term after a first term scarred by a federal investigation into his 2010 campaign.

Another incumbent remains undecided in a closely watched race: Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said last month that he has not decided whether to seek a fifth four-year term.

Thus far, three Democratic candidates have emerged to claim his seat on the D.C. Council. Thursday’s reports indicate that they have had varying levels of fundraising success.

Brianne Nadeau, a public relations consultant living in the U Street area, has maintained the largest campaign total, with nearly $55,000 on hand. Adams Morgan civic activist Bryan Weaver, in his second run for the seat, has about $29,000 to spend, while Columbia Heights education consultant Beverley Wheeler has less than $1,000.

In the race for what could be the only open seat on the council, Darrel Thompson has a significant cash advantage as he seeks to replace Wells, who is giving up his seat to run for mayor. Thompson has nearly $50,000 banked a week after formally launching his campaign.

Thompson, a Democrat, is a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He will face Charles Allen, who left his post as Wells’s chief of staff last week and filed papers to enter the race Friday, after the reporting deadline.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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