Communication Builds Our Community

Candidates' Finance Reports Reveal Support, Differing Strategies

Thursday Was Final Day To Accept Contributions

Thursday, March 31 was the final day candidates for two Lake Wales municipal seats could accept contributions, and their final reports, filed Friday, offered a glimpse into their bases of support and the strategies they pursued to attempt to win office.

Collectively, the five candidates have spent $27,775 in the last few months to win the support of Lake Wales voters. Three seek to be the city's next mayor, and two others hope to fill an open seat on the City Commission. Tuesday's city election will reveal which of the five candidates succeeded.

Mayoral candidate Tammy James collected the most contributions, totaling $8,900, and also had the most individual contributors, with 54. She also spent the most during her campaign, totaling $7,273.

James Loydd, who's running for City Commission Seat 4, spent the least, with $3,275 in campaign expenses, his report shows. Challenging him in that race is Daniel Krueger, who spent twice that amount on his campaign. His expenses, totaling $6,603, include $2,000 on radio advertising and another estimated $2,000 on signs, postcards and flyers.

Curtis Gibson and Jack Hilligoss, each seeking to succeed Eugene Fultz as the city's mayor, spent $4,789 and $5,834, respectively.

Hilligoss posted the second-highest total of campaign contributions after James, totaling $8,375, and he spent most of that on signs and flyers. He also spent $338 in December with a political strategist in Longboat Key, his records show. Friday's report shows he had $2,530 remaining in his campaign account with just four days left before the election, leaving him with the most money left unspent.

Here's how the other candidates fared in campaign contributions:

• Krueger - $7,905

• Gibson - $5,555

• Lloyd - $3,875

Some candidates collected more high-dollar contributions, while others had more donors. James' 54 contributions averaged $164, and Hilligoss, who totaled 26 individual donors, averaged $322 in contributions. Gibson also had 26 individual contributors, who donated an average $214 to his campaign.

In the city commission race, Krueger had 30 contributors who gave an average $263 to boost his campaign, the reports show, while Loydd garnered 43 contributors, who donated an average $90.

The campaign expense reports are laden with the routine costs associated with running for office - food and supplies for campaign events, receptions and volunteer meetings, along with signs and mailers.

James, Hilligoss and Gibson are seeking a three-year term as mayor, which is an at-large seat. Candidates for mayor can live anywhere in the city.

Krueger and Loydd are running for Seat 4, representing the city's northwest district, and hoping to fill the last two years of a seat left vacant after the suspension of former Commissioner Kris Fitzgerald.. Candidates for that seat must live in the district they hope to represent, but voters throughout the city will cast ballots in the race.

Voters will cast their ballots Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Municipal Administration Building or the Lake Ashton Clubhouse, depending on their voter precinct.


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