You don’t have to spend a tonne of money to get elected in Ladysmith.
But apparently spending does help.
Ladysmith’s new mayor, Aaron Stone, spent about as much as his two challengers combined in his successful bid to get elected in November.
And six of the eight highest-spending candidates ended up joining him on council.
According to numbers released by Elections B.C., Stone spent a total of $3,606 on his campaign, compared to $1,962 by runner-up Gord Horth and $1,766 by third-place finisher Marsh Stevens.
But anyone jumping to the conclusion that money can buy you an election needs to pay attention to the case of Bill Drysdale. The incumbent councillor was among the campaign’s four biggest spenders, but did not get re-elected.
Council candidates spent between Duck Paterson’s high of $2,411 and a low of $22 by Cathleen McMahon.
And, in most instances, candidates were spending most and sometimes all of that money out of their own pockets. The concept of slick backroom power brokers bankrolling campaigns is seemingly foreign in Ladysmith.
Pam Fraser’s $366 contribution to Carol Henderson was the biggest to anyone’s campaign. Henderson also received $250 from Allan and Diana Gould, while Duck Paterson received $350 each from Kathy Stalker and from Dave Stalker Excavating.
Other notable donations were Lorne Hastings ($268), Bouma Meats ($250) and TR Trucking ($250) to Cal Fradin, as well as $224 from the Richmond family to Stone.
Horth, Drysdale, Rob Hutchins, Steve Arnett, Joe Friesenhan, Bob Cross and McMahon each funded their entire campaigns by themselves.
The bulk of campaign costs went to advertising, including media, brochures and signs.
A seat on council comes with a wage of $12,470 annually. The mayor’s chains of office carry a salary of $24,172.
Declared expenses for each council candidate:
• Duck Paterson $2,411
• Cal Fradin $2,068
• Carol Henderson $1,898
• Bill Drysdale $1,896
• Jillian Dashwood $1,164
• Rob Hutchins $1,142
• Steve Arnett $588
• Joe Friesenhan $688
• Thea Melvin $486
• Bob Cross $428
• Cathleen McMahon $22