It seems more money didn’t necessarily translate into more votes in the 2018 Surrey civic election.
The reigning Safe Surrey Coalition – that dominated the former Surrey First powerhouse in the polls last October, winning eight of nine seats on council – spent nearly $250,000 on its campaign according to Elections BC disclosure documents released this week.
That’s compared to Surrey First’s $817,136.65 and Integrity Now’s $224,915.77.
A change in election finance rules meant political hopefuls relied on individual contributions, unless they raised funds ahead of Oct. 31, 2017, when new rules took effect that prohibit corporate and union donations and limit individual donations to $1,200.
Elections BC documents reveal Safe Surrey raised $167,180 of its financial contributions prior to the change.
The reigning party spent $237,418.14 on its campaign, and candidates spent another $9,871.34, for a grand total of $247,289.48.
The largest expense for the Safe Surrey party was on signs and billboard ($78,200.86), followed by internet ads ($54,729.83). Money was also spent on other forms of advertising including brochures/pamphlets/flyers ($7,455.20), newspaper/magazine ads ($28,243.95), $2,000 on TV, and another $15,355 on “other advertising.”
Meantime, the party spent $12,210.64 on research and polling; $20,680.38 on professional services; $1,706.02 on bank fees; $4,499.76 on rent/insurance/utilities; $500 on furniture and equipment and $500 on office supplies. A total of $4,200 was spent on “campaign related functions” and $2,000 on financial agent services.
In addition to the party’s spending, the candidates spent another $9,871.34 combined, which they raised by putting their own money toward it, or having family contribute, or both.
Councillor Mandeep Nagra spent $3,600 (on billboards, signs and pamphlets), Councillor Laurie Guerra spent $300 (on internet ads and pamphlets), Councillor Allison Patton spent $483.90 (on various things from signs to brochures to internet ads), and Councillors Jack Hundial and Brenda Locke both spent a total of $2,743.72 (both of whom spent it all on internet advertising).
Several spent zero, individually, including Mayor Doug McCallum, Councillor Doug Elford, Councillor Steven Pettigrew, and Bableen Rana, who was not elected.
Meantime, Surrey First had obtained $387,500 prior to Oct. 31, 2017, when election donation rules took effect. Another $431,600 was raised afterward.
Of the more than $817,000 spent on Surrey First’s unsuccessful campaign, the party spent $274,812.47 of that, with candidates spending the remaining $542,324.18.
In all, the party itself spent $32,148.93 on signs and billboards, $31,315.77 on brochures and flyers, $20,924.90 on newspaper and magazine ads, $1,882.13 on TV ads and $9,953 on “other advertising.”
Other expenses included $124,834.16 was spent on salaries and wages, $25,896.84 on rent/insurance/utilities and $20,762.50 on research and polling.
How did the candidates spend the remaining $540,000 and change?
Each and every Surrey First candidate expensed roughly $60,258.
According to campaign disclosure documents, the candidates each expensed that money in similar ways. The largest chunk of that was spent – for each candidate- was for salaries and wages (roughly $18,300) and TV advertising (about $10,800), followed by close to $7,000 on signs and billboards, and about $4,470 spent on research and polling.
Meantime, the Integrity Now party that was created by former Surrey First councillor Bruce Hayne spent $224,915.77 on its campaign.
The party itself spent just $1,520.63, spent on bank fees, furniture equipment, office supplies and other administration expenses.
Candidates, meanwhile, expensed $202,531.83.
Each of the slate’s six candidates expensed about $33,500. The lion’s share of the money – more than $30,000 for each candidate – was spent on advertising. Each also spent $1,980.63 on research and polling.
In the 2014 civic election, Surrey First spent close to $1.2 million on its successful campaign that swept all nine seats on council, much of it raised through corporate donors. It was almost three times the amount spent by their closes two rivals combined.