Money important but not everything in city racesOne takeaway from the Aug. 10 Red Wing City Council primaries: Money certainly helps candidates but it's not the only factor in determining who wins.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
One takeaway from the Aug. 10 Red Wing City Council primaries: Money certainly helps candidates but it's not the only factor in determining who wins.
In two of the three primaries, the biggest spenders came in second, according to campaign financial reports submitted to the city clerk prior the election.
But in the third race, the far and away biggest spender was far and way the biggest vote getter.
"Money doesn't hurt," said Ward 1-2 candidate John Sachen.
At large: big fundraiser, big winner
No need to tell that to Marilyn Meinke, the top vote0getter in the At-large City Council primary.
She beat her next closet opponent, Dustin Schulenberg, by 739 votes, after having outspent her opponents by $1,140. Schulenberg and third-place candidate Kenneth Bush spent roughly the same amount.
Meinke, who moved to town in 2008, said she and her campaign supporters knew fundraising would be important to get her name out to voters.
But she said it takes a lot more than fundraising to win.
"I don't think it was just the money we spent," Meinke said.
Wards 1 and 2: Experience over green
Outspending your opponent does not mean you'll run away with a win. Especially when you're trying to unseat an incumbent.
Sachen spent more than twice as much as incumbent Dean Hove and fellow challenger Craig Livingstone in the Ward 1-2 primary, according to their financial reports.
He came in second, as Hove was able to garner 248 more votes than Sachen did.
It's not "an even playing field" for challengers, Sachen said, explaining he probably needs to spend more than Hove just to compete.
One example is signage. Sachen out spend Hove by $830 before the primary.
But you wouldn't know that by taking a drive through town, where Hove's signs seemingly outnumber Sachen's. Hove will tell you he's using signs he's saved from previous elections.
"I feel for those guys that are on their first time running," Hove said. He said it was tough sledding the first time he ran, adding he spent a lot of his own money on that campaign in 2002.
In the Ward 4 primary, Peggy Rehder edged fellow first-time candidate Dan Johnson by 98 votes.
According to their financial reportsm Johnson spent $338 more than Rehder did. But those figures are deceiving. She said she purchased an advertisement before the primary but shortly after she submitted her report.
Candidate Michael Larson, who came in third, did not file a financial report, according to the city clerk.
The reports are available at the city's website: http://www.red-wing.org/ccelection.html