Chavous Trails Evans in Donations
By Yolanda Woodlee
Evans, also a Democrat, has raised $307,305 since early December, and $90,000 of that came in the last four weeks.
This will be the first mayor's race since 1990 in which a donor can contribute as much as $2,000 to a candidate. A year before the 1994 mayor's race, a law capped mayoral campaign contributions at $100.
Candidates for mayor have until July to file petitions formalizing their candidacy. Mayor Marion Barry has not said whether he will seek reelection.
Political observers say that Barry, who has been mayor for 16 of the last 20 years, would need less money to mount a campaign because of his name recognition. Neither Chavous, a Ward 7 D.C. Council member, nor Evans, who represents Ward 2 on the council, have run for a citywide elected office.
Restaurateur Jeffrey Gildenhorn, the first candidate to announce, reported in his March filing that he had contributed $400,000 to his own campaign. He said that by personally funding his bid for mayor, he will not be beholden to any campaign supporters.
Chavous and Evans, both lawyers, collected many campaign contributions from friends and supporters in the legal profession. Council member Harold Brazil (D-At Large), who has said he will formally enter the mayor's race shortly, also is a lawyer. Brazil did not have to file a campaign finance report because he has not formally announced his candidacy.
Evans spent $61,000 of the money he raised to pay campaign workers and consultants and on catering costs for fund-raisers, office rent, furniture and staff breakfast and luncheon meetings.
Chavous has spent only $6,300 on his fledging campaign; his biggest expense resulted from his efforts to gauge the pulse of the community. Chavous paid $3,900 to a consulting firm to form a focus group. His other expenditures included payments to political consultants and a press secretary.
"I am extremely grateful for the quality and quantity of support that has come to me since I announced my candidacy for mayor of the District of Columbia a month ago," Chavous said. "Raising more than $100,000 in less than 30 days is a clear signal that my message appeals to citizens across every section and quadrant of our city. My contributions come from every ward in the city."
While Chavous boasts of getting money from every ward in the city, his report shows that more than one-third of his campaign contributions -- nearly $44,000 -- came from outside the District.
Evans said his fund-raising effort thus far "is certainly a long way from our goal" of at least $500,000.
"We're going to continue to work hard and raise as much as we can, recognizing that money alone does not win an election," he said. "Touching the voters and pounding the pavement is what wins an election."
Evans's first report, filed Jan. 31, showed that he had almost $217,000 at his disposal, including a $15,000 personal loan. His latest filing shows that he has repaid the personal loan. The report shows that Evans, the first elected official to announce, spent $2,656 on meetings and fund-raising events.
Consultants, the term Evans used to describe campaign workers, cost his campaign almost $9,000. Evans's campaign manager, Warren Graves, a former director of communications under Barry, was paid $3,000. Another $2,500 was spent on media consulting. Food was a big expense for Evans, too. The campaign spent more than $600 on breakfasts, lunch and dinner planning meetings.
In the January report, Evans showed strong support from the District's downtown business community. He attracted contributors from the Washington suburbs and across the country, where he received more than $60,000. In this filing, an additional $27,500 came from outside the District. Nearly one-third of his contributions came from nonresidents.
At least one local lawyer is hedging his bets.
Jack Olender, a high-profile personal injury lawyer, has given $1,000 to Evans and $1,500 to Chavous. Just last month, when Mayor Marion Barry was criticized for spending city funds to pay for a trip to Israel, Olender stepped forward and paid for Barry's airfare.
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