South Bend mayoral candidate Pete Buttigieg has huge lead in campaign funds
But other hopefuls say they aren't concerned
By Jeff Parrott, The South Bend Tribune
April 20, 2011
SOUTH BEND--As South Bend's mayoral candidates vie for voters' attention in the final two weeks of the race, one will have significantly more resources at his disposal.
Among the Democrats, Pete Buttigieg's campaign has nearly twice the cash of Ryan Dvorak's, and more than six times that of Mike Hamann, according to recently filed campaign finance reports.
Republican Wayne Curry had a negative cash balance, having raised $520 and spent $1,346 — he says he spent about $800 of his own money, according to his report. Republicans Will Taylor and Bill Davis had filed no reports.
Buttigieg had raised more than $229,000 and spent $102,000, leaving about $127,000 cash on hand.
Dvorak raised $100,000 and spent more than $30,400, leaving about $69,200 on hand.
Hamann raised $56,000 and spent $36,000, leaving about $19,300 to spend.
Barrett Berry raised about $7,000 and spent about $5,000, leaving him with $2,000.
Buttigieg said his cash advantage is a plus, but won't win him the election.
"It does position us to get our message out more broadly, not just on television but also in mail," he said. "(Mail) is important to me because I want to share a lot of details on my written plans for how we'll achieve our goals for the city ... but at the end of the day it's going to depend on which candidate works the hardest and that's how I plan to win."
Buttigieg said he will be spending the bulk of his time reaching out directly to voters, at senior centers, diners, front porches and workplaces.
Dvorak said he is not concerned about the money gap.
"I think we're getting our message our just as much or even better than he is," Dvorak said of Buttigieg. "This is a small electorate. There's going to be between 8,000 and 12,000 people (who vote), and we've been focusing our message for months now."
Dvorak said his campaign is spending its contributions more efficiently, rather than hiring consultants.
He added that his opponent for his last state House race, Republican Dick Pfeil, outspent him $250,000 to about $80,000, or by more than a 3-to-1 ratio.
"I beat him by 10 points, in the biggest Republican landslide year in decades, in a mostly Republican district," Dvorak said.
Hamann said he was shocked to see Buttigieg's contribution totals.
"A quarter million dollars for a mayor's race. It's like trying to buy an election. That's an obscene amount of money. South Bend cannot be bought. It's not for sale."
Hamann said his campaign budgeted $65,000 for the race "to do what we needed to do," and they expect to reach that figure by Friday.
Although he has much less cash, Hamann, who once ran a marketing company, said his campaign will continue to air TV ads. It simply is being more selective with when the ads run.
"We've done a very targeted TV buy," he said. "It's aimed at the people who vote, older people. We're on (around) the news and shows like 'Jeopardy' and 'Wheel of Fortune.' We're not going to be on the Food Network."
Berry said he was "not at all" worried about his relatively small cash balance.
"We never thought we'd raise more money than anyone else," Berry said. "We're running a grass-roots campaign."
He said he will buy TV ads, but to a much smaller degree than his competitors.
"We don't have to be on television to win this race," he said. "We've been on the radio the past five weeks, knocked on thousands of doors, made thousands of phone calls, and we have run the most precise campaign that we know to run. We've knocked on doors in every precinct in this city. It's not the money that votes, it's the people who vote."