D.C.'s mayoral candidates got their campaign cash from different sources, with some depending heavily on corporate giving and others swearing it off altogether.
Tomorrow D.C. voters head to the polls to choose the candidates from the major political parties — Democratic, Republican, Statehood Green, Libertarian — that will head to November's general election. The biggest race is at the top of the ticket, where incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray is neck and neck with Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) for the mayor's office.
Beyond the positions that the candidates have taken on the issues, where they get their money can be a good indicator of what type of elected official they may be, what type of people support them and — as our "Deals for Developers" series showed — what favors they might owe to corporations and contractors.
With the aid of Dan Essrow, a local graphic designer, we crunched the numbers on campaign cash raised by all the mayoral candidates through March 10. We broke it down based on how much each candidate raised, how much came from contributions at or below $250, how much came from D.C. addresses, and how much they got from corporations.
The numbers show that Gray, Bowser, Evans, and Orange all drew a good amount of money from corporations and businesses. In Orange's case, it was almost half of all the money he raised. (He drew criticism early on for taking $20,000 from a Maryland-based parking company vying for a lucrative D.C. contract.) The practice of bundling money from related LLCs will be banned as of 2015, but until then, these four candidates took full advantage.
Wells made news by swearing off corporate contributions, and his numbers show it: He raised less than other candidates already serving in office, but more of it came through small donations from D.C. residents. Restaurant-owner Andy Shallal and former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis also took in small donations, though most came from contributors from out of town.
*Small individual donations include donations less than or equal to $250 contributed by the Individual donor type.
**Individuals include only the Individual contributor type. Businesses and corporations includes the following contributor types: Business, Corporate Sponsored PAC, and Corporation. The unlabeled gray share is other; it includes the following donor types: Organization, Other, Partnership, Candidate, Labor.
***Detailed data for Tommy Wells are only available for download through 1/31/2014. Data from 2/1/14–03/10/14 were taken from the PDF report filed by the Wells campaign.
Notes: Contribution data are from Jan. 1, 2013–Mar. 10, 2014. Percents were rounded to the nearest integer, listed percents may not add up to one hundred due to rounding and categorization. Data exclude funds transferred from exploratory committees and loans to campaign committees.
Source: District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance, http://ocf.dc.gov. Analysis by Daniel Essrow, David Cooper, Michael Essrow, and Hilary Wething.
Graphic by Daniel Essrow in collaboration with WAMU.