With the May 1 elections drawing ever closer, the top candidates for Fort Worth mayor have filed campaign finance reports showing who has donated and how much. The reports also show expenditures. The Brian Byrd campaign sent out a press release April 1 reporting that the candidate has raised over $500,000, including a $300,000 loan from Byrd himself. Good to know he’s supporting his own campaign.
As you peruse the names and numbers in the reports, here are some tips on what to look for and consider:
- Just because you raise the most money doesn’t mean you’ll win the election. Money doesn’t get people out to vote – messaging does. But money sure helps get the message out.
- Do loans from candidates to their own campaigns reflect candidates’ confidence in themselves and their campaigns – or does a personal loan suggest that a candidate is trying to prime a pump that’s running dry? Maybe it shows a candidate is trying to buy the election – and maybe it doesn’t. These are questions for voters to answer.
- Look for people you know and respect – or disrespect – among the contributors. Who are these people and how are they connected – to the candidates, as well as to other individuals and institutions. Full transparency is essential.
- Take a look at the expenditures – do you know who is running these campaigns? Are they local? How many of these consultants are running other down-ballot races? Does that give them a power advantage when their candidates are elected to office? Do you agree with them on their other clients’ strategies? We’ll say it one more time: Transparency is essential.
Here are links to the reports: