Monday, May 17, 2021

Election Spending Growing Out of Control

Money has always been a factor in American elections, and its influence and impact have not lessened in this last Federal election or here in local elections. Vice President Biden may in fact be the first Presidential candidate to raise one billion dollars in his efforts to win the 2020 election. President Trump raised just short of $600 million through October 14 of this year. 

Congressional races as well as contests for state offices have also been steadily climbing with regard to how much money is spent to be elected. That escalation is leaving many to question what influence those dollars are having on legislation and the allegiance of elected officials to those funding their campaigns. 

It seems even elections on the local level may have begun to spiral out of control. The first one for which we’ve created a statistical analysis begins with the Marco Island City Council. Newcomer Joe Rola showed his message resonated with voters and didn’t require any high-priced political consultants or double-digit spending as shown in the table below.  

Rola won the race for the most economical use of dollars, spending only $0.90 for each vote received, while four-year veteran and now Council Chair Jared Grifoni spent $4.76 for each of his votes, taking home the “gold” for the most dollars spent per vote. 

Greg Folley ran unopposed for the two-year seat to fill the unexpired term of former Councilor Sam Young. Young quit the council and moved out of the area. Folley initially was appointed to fill the gap between Young’s departure and the November 3 election. Folley basically funded his own campaign with a personal loan early on but did receive donations of $4,327 beyond his self-funding. 

RICH BLONNA $13,815.00 $11,837.00 6,745 $1.76
JARED GRIFONI $48,170.11 $35,330.22 7,427 $4.76
PHARES HEINDL $4,459.85 $2,609.91 4,112 $1.58
BECKY IRWIN $15,781.81 $12,171.82 7,585 $1.61
JOE ROLA $6,285.91 $6,159.45 6,858 $0.90

Of the community leaders that viewed the chart and checked the numbers, many were stunned that a local city election might require spending such significant amounts of money.


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