John Suthers speaks to a crowd of hundreds as he officially announces his candidacy for Colorado Springs mayor at a campaign kickoff party at the Ivywild School Saturday, January 17, 2015. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

John Suthers continued to add to his fundraising lead in the mayor's race, while money from political action committees and developers made a big difference for four City Council candidates, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Suthers raised $37,880 from 81 donors between Feb. 11 and Monday, increasing his total for the campaign to $279,023. His fundraising total to date is more than the combined total raised by the 19 other candidates for mayor and the council, combined, with more than $40,000 to spare, according to reports filed with the Colorado Springs City Clerk's Office.

During the latest reporting period, here's the breakdown for other mayoral candidates:

- Former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace raised $12,587 from 120 donors, bringing her total to $53,808.

- El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen raised $978 from eight donors, bringing her total to $66,720.

- Former City Councilman Joel Miller raised $900 from seven donors, bringing his total to $11,265.

Mayoral candidates Tony Carpenter and Lawrence Martinez have not filed campaign finance reports.

Suthers "is well ahead and in striking distance of getting a majority of the vote in the first round and avoiding a runoff," said Bob Loevy, a retired Colorado College political science professor. Between Makepeace and Lathen, "they have enough money to be competitive, advertise and keep Suthers from getting that majority. They have a good shot of putting him into a runoff."

Suthers' biggest donors were Perry Sanders, a New Orleans attorney who owns the Mining Exchange Hotel downtown, $10,000; and political action committees for the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Forward, which each gave $5,000. He spent $18,758 during the latest period, including $11,000 with Lamar Advertising for billboard advertising and $3,000 with Magellan Strategies, a Louisville-based survey and polling firm. That leaves Suthers with nearly $83,000 on hand.

Suthers said he is "heartened by the depth and breadth of the finance support, more than 900 contributors so far, a majority of which have given $100 or less."

Makepeace's biggest donors were philanthropist Robert Tudor, $2,000, and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs philosophy professor Raphael Sassower, $1,000. She spent $7,298, including $4,100 on political consultants and nearly $1,800 on printing. That leaves her with $24,485 on hand.

Makepeace said her fundraising is "picking up and we are very happy and totally optimistic. There will be more to come." She said her campaign is buying radio and billboard advertising, but "as far as television, we are keeping our powder dry until the runoff."

Lathen's biggest donors in the latest period were lawyer Raymond Deeny and Campbell Homes CEO Randall Deming, both for $250. She spent $200, most of it for an entry in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, leaving her with about $39,000 on hand.

Lathen said rather than focusing on fundraising, she spends her time "meeting people, listening to the issues they bring up, and designing a detailed plan for improving the business climate in our city, based on citizens' concerns."

Miller's biggest donors were United Airlines pilot Charles Schweiss of Monument and Jeremy Brown, a New Jersey lawyer, who each gave $200. Miller spent $2,425, including $1,531 with Cumulus Media, which owns six local radio stations. That leaves him with $7,678 on hand.

City Council President Pro-Tem Merv Bennett, the only incumbent at-large candidate seeking re-election, led fundraising among all council candidates, both for the most recent period and for the campaign season. He raised $22,850 from 17 donors with the housing and building association and Colorado Springs Forward committees and Elite Properties of America Inc. (parent of Classic Homes) each donating $5,000. He spent nearly $4,500 with a political consultant firm owned by Sarah Jack and had nearly $22,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Jariah Walker and Tom Strand also got $5,000 donations each from the two committees. Walker raised $16,600 from 10 donors and Strand raised $11,250 from six donors during the latest reporting period. Walker also got $2,500 each from two companies related to Nor'wood Development Group and spent $5,026, nearly all with Jack's consulting firm, leaving him with more than $20,000 on hand. Strand spent nearly $6,000 on radio advertising, signs and consultants, leaving him with more than $13,000 on hand.

"This seems to be an election where money is talking and talking loudly. Some candidates are raising a lot of money and others not enough to be competitive. It looks like money will be a major factor in deciding the outcome of this election," Loevy said. "Anyone who has raised less than $15,000 will have great difficulty in being competitive."

Among the other at-large candidates:

- Bill Murray gave $2,500 to his campaign, the only donation he reported, and spent nearly $300 on signs.

- Nicholas Lee received $1,020 from two donors during the latest reporting period with $1,000 coming from Lisa Tessarowicz, owner of Epicentral Coworking. He spent $100 on printing.

- Vickie Tonkins received $800 from three donors with $500 coming from Lighthouse Ministries of Laramie, Wyo.

- Glenn Carlson received $485 from nine donors with $200 coming from mortgage broker Dale Eaton of Longmont.

- Yolanda Avila received one $200 contribution from Kristen Christy, a proposal specialist with Modern Technology Solutions Inc., and spent $180 on photography.

- Longinos Gonzalez Jr. reported receiving and spending $10 during the latest period.

- Vanessa Bowie, Jesse Brown Jr., Al Loma and Joe Woyte have not filed campaign finance reports.

Councilman Larry Bagley, appointed to replace Miller when he resigned to run for mayor, has outraised opponent Kanda Calef more than 7-to-1, including $16,050 in the latest reporting period from eight donors. All but $1,050 came from $5,000 contributions each from the housing and building and Colorado Springs Forward committees and Elite. He spent $5,157 with Jack's consulting firm and a Monument data consultant. Calef raised $600 from seven donors, including political consultant Steve Durham, who also received $1,000 from the campaign for software.

A committee opposing the recall of Councilwoman Helen Collins raised $316 in the latest period, but also said it received a $6,572 loan from Collins.


Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

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