More than $14,000 has already been spent in the campaign to become the next mayor of Gonzales, but there is an appreciable disparity in the composition of the monies each candidate is reporting in required financial disclosure documents to the Texas Ethics Commission.
Mayoral candidate Bob Burchard has spent more than five times as much on his campaign compared to opponent Bobby Logan. Conversely, Logan has received $3,350 in contributions to his campaign, while Burchard, who is self-financing his bid, has received no outside contributions, according to paperwork filed with city of Gonzales secretary Candice Witzkowski.
Meanwhile, District 4 City Council candidate Johnny Ross Hunt is the only candidate of the three seeking the vacated seat to file the financial paperwork required 30 days prior to the general election. Fellow city council candidates Steve Hendershot and Clarence Opiela did not file disclosure documents with Witzkowski by the April 12 deadline.
A second filing is required by all office seekers eight days before the May 12 election.
The Texas Ethics Commission publishes a campaign finance guide for each type of filer, which explains the office seeker’s responsibilities as a filer. The TEC encourages candidates to familiarize themselves with the requirements outlined in the guide before accepting political contributions or making or authorizing political expenditures.
Reporting information was provided in an information packet each candidate received when they filed to run for elected office, Witzkowski said.
Candidates are solely responsible for filing the required paperwork, and the TEC does not require local representatives accepting the documents on the agency’s behalf to notify candidates of filing requirements or issue reminders. Failing to file a report on time or filing an incomplete report may subject candidates to criminal or civil penalties, the TEC says.
Burchard’s expenditures since launching his campaign for mayor on Jan. 11 total $11,973.39, according to forms filed on April 12, compared to $2,361.30 spent by Logan reported in paperwork filed on April 2.
Burchard’s expenditures consisted of political signs and media advertising itemized as $5,375.77 to Personal Impressions in Gonzales for campaign signs, $4,712.40 to The Gonzales Inquirer for newspaper advertising, $1,540.90 to The Gonzales Cannon for advertising and $264.32 to KCTI for radio advertising.
Logan’s expenditures since beginning his bid for the mayoral seat on Feb. 6 are itemized as $2,067.32 to Super Cheap Signs in Austin for campaign signs, $248.98 to Reese’s Print Shop for door hangers and cards, and $45 to the U.S. Post Office for letters and cards.
While Burchard has financed his campaign out of his own pocket, Logan has received political contributions from a dozen people in Gonzales and Bastrop counties. According to paperwork on file, itemized contributions to Logan’s campaign are: John L. Tinsley of Cost, $1,000; Dr. Charles W. Graham of Elgin, $750; Jay Gray, Graham Land & Cattle Co., $500; Mary Anne Maclean, $300; George R. Eberle III, $200; Jack L. Finch, $200; D. or Z. Dolezal, $100; Linda Menking, $100; Jenny Nesser, $100; Lynnell Sherry, $50; IT 2 Rescue, $25; and August and Sharon Etlinger, $25.
The mayor receives an annual salary from the city of $9,600.
City Council race
Hunt’s political war chest is balancing contributions and expenditures, according to paperwork filed April 12, taking in $654.24 and paying out the same amount.
Since launching his bid for city council on March 5, Hunt has received contributions of $250 each from Ellen Kennard and Mary Anne Maclean, and has self-financed the remaining $154.24. He then spent $275 on campaign signs from DesignMySign.com, $257.64 for door hangers, postcards, business cards and supplies from Reese’s Print Shop, and $121.60 in newspaper advertising from The Gonzales Inquirer.
Because no reports were filed with Witzkowski’s office, it is unknown what contributions or expenditures were realized by campaigns for Hendershot or Opiela, although some political signs for each candidate have been distributed around town.
No candidate for either office reported receiving any in-kind donations or contributions prior to the April 12 filing deadline.
The mayoral position pays an annual salary of $9,600, and city council members receive a salary of $4,200 per year.