Mayor Ron Nirenberg has outpaced Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6), his most serious and well-funded challenger, in fundraising, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Nirenberg outraised Brockhouse by more than $100,000 from March 26 to April 24, according to campaign finance reports filed eight days before the May 4 city elections, with $131,536 reported in monetary donations compared to Brockhouse’s $27,975.
Nirenberg also has much more cash to spend in the last few days of the campaign. He holds nearly $88,000 cash on hand, while Brockhouse reported almost $11,500. Both reported significant outstanding loans – Nirenberg owes $23,000, while Brockhouse owes $29,000 – but Nirenberg’s fundraising haul gives him more room to pay those off after the election.
Forty-eight individual contributors donated money to Brockhouse’s campaign between March 26 and April 24, and 268 contributed to Nirenberg’s in the same time frame. Kelton Morgan, Nirenberg’s campaign manager, said Tuesday the number of individual donors indicates strong support for the mayor.
“He’s got a relatively low average gift, and it shows broad-based and widespread support,” Morgan said of Nirenberg.
Brockhouse said as a challenger to an incumbent, he’s running a “raise it and spend it” campaign – as soon as money comes in, it goes out again in campaign expenditures. Though he trails Nirenberg significantly in fundraising, Brockhouse said he’s proud of his campaign team’s work.
“No matter what, with what we’ve got financially in this campaign versus Ron, we’ve overachieved,” Brockhouse said. “By any measure, we’re in this race. … We’re just going to keep knocking on doors and talking to people. If it works, it works. I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m confident we’re in a good spot. That’s the best you can hope for.”
Incumbents typically have an edge in raising campaign cash, but contributions and financial reports are not a predictor of race outcomes.
Former Mayor Ivy Taylor outraised and outspent her opponents in the 2017 municipal elections. Eight days before the May election in 2017, Taylor reported raising $26,774 more than Nirenberg and outspent him by more than $108,000 between March 28 and April 26 of that year. She continued to outraise and outspend Nirenberg leading up to the June 2017 runoff, but still lost by nine points.
“Having the most money or winning the fundraising race does not always translate into winning the race at the ballot box,” Morgan said. “It’s not a given. But I think what you saw in 2017, different than what you see today, is that Mayor Nirenberg – while not matching dollar for dollar [with Taylor] – was very competitive when it came to fundraising.”
Brockhouse has received significant financial backing from the firefighters union.
The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Political Action Committee reported spending $15,838 on field workers and advertising to support Brockhouse’s campaign from February 26 to March 25 in the PAC’s most recent campaign finance report. The PAC raised $23,660 during the same time period.
Brockhouse has spent more than $23,000 on his campaign, according to the latest financial report. He spent $44,527 in the previous reporting period.
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Even including the fire union’s expenditures on behalf of Brockhouse, Nirenberg has spent thousands more than Brockhouse. In his latest financial report, Nirenberg recorded $355,767 in expenditures. He spent $159,238 in the previous reporting period.
Of the nine candidates running for mayor, Michael Idrogo and Carlos Castanuela have not filed any campaign finance reports. Matt Piña reported raising $238 from March 26 to April 24 and spending $623. He had $64 cash on hand. Tim Atwood reported raising no money, reported no cash on hand, and spent $156 in the same time frame. Bert Cecconi reported having $62,281, but much of that came from a $90,000 loan he made to his campaign in February. Cecconi reported spending $681 from March 26 to April 24 with no money raised.
Early voting ends Tuesday at 8 p.m.