Campaign spending low in Truckee’s races
Truckee candidates prefer to promote their campaigns with handshakes and kind words rather than breaking the bank.
Only five local candidates or committees completed a California Form 460, which allows a candidate to accept campaign donations of more than $100 and to spend more than $1,000 on their campaign.
Ted Owens, Josh Susman, Ron Florian, Nelson Van Gundy and Friends of the Truckee Airport were the only committees to open that door for campaign spending, but fewer still spent more than $1,000 on the election this November.
Friends of the Truckee Airport, a cooperative campaign for candidates Ken Foster, Don Starbard and Bruce Kuecker, received $1,250 in campaign contributions. The three Town Council candidates who filed a 460 received contributions which grossed more than $1,000, but only Ted Owens exceeded that amount in expenditures.
As of Oct. 5, Truckee Donner Public Utility District candidate Nelson Van Gundy, the only single candidate in a local Nevada County district who filed a 460, received only $396 in contributions according to the disclosure statement proved by Nevada County’s Election Office.
“If you think you might go over $1,000 it’s a good idea to file a 460,” said Kevin Waggoner, elections assistant with Nevada County. Candidates can continue to receive campaign donations after the election, but still must file with the county.
“It’s not so much in spending; I’ve been around here 20 years and have been involved in a lot of community projects,” Van Gundy said. “I see this as one more stage in my commitment to the community.”
The remaining 14 candidates spent less than $1,000 on their campaign.
Advertising in local publications was the largest expense for some candidates, such as Van Gundy, while others spent more on campaign signs, fund-raisers, filing costs or postal expenses.
“Even in the previous campaigns I never did any fund-raising events,” town councilman Ron Florian said. “I received donations from friends and supporters and used the money for signs and a mailer, ink pens and buttons.”
Susman raised the most money for the campaign, followed by Owens and Florian. Owens spent more on his campaign than Florian or Susman, but came in third in the election.
Two of the three members on the Friends of the Truckee Airport Committee were elected to the airport board.
“The farthest-out thing I did was (advertise on) Channel 6,” said Van Gundy. “When you’ve been in town for a while the main thing is that you let people know the name and face connection … and let them know you’re running.”
“Word of mouth in this town hasn’t changed that much,” Van Gundy added. “I had some friends call around … Issues helped some on this. People know I’m concerned about water.”
Florian said Town Council candidates spoke at various clubs and business organizations.
“The board of realtors debate night – I think that had great value,” he said. “But we don’t have a lot of political campaigning, and I think a lot of that has to do with the town being young. I think that may change in the next few years.”
Campaign funds that weren’t used during the election must remain in separate bank accounts, and are regulated by the Fair Political Practices Commission.
For more information about county elections contact Nevada County Candidate Services at (530) 265-1298.
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