Campaign fundraising: Ridgefield Democrats have an edge
A nearly 2-1 election victory was preceded by a similar 2-1 advantage in campaign funds in Ridgefield’s first selectman’s race.
The “Ridgefield for Rudy” committee reported raising $42,320 compared to $21,220 for the “Moccia 2019” committee as of Oct. 27, a week before incumbent Rudy Marconi defeated challenger Dick Moccia, 5,099 to 2,592, in the Nov. 5 voting.
The fundraising gap could be considered wider — close to half of the $21,220 reported as receipts by the Moccia 2019 committee is listed as a $10,000 loan from the candidate.
But Moccia — not as well known as the longtime incumbent Marconi — appeared to be spending more.
Campaign expenditures listed in filings with the town clerk showed Moccia 2019 outspending Ridgefield for Rudy by $18,171 to $13,373 a little over a week before the Nov. 5 election.
Those figures are from documents filed by the two campaign committees on the last pre-election filing period — through Oct. 27. Another filing is due Jan. 10, covering campaigns’ financial activity through Dec. 31. The campaigns are required to have expended all their funds by March 31, and their final filing deadline is a week later, April 7.
Marconi’s committee had a balance on hand of $28,947 at the Oct. 27 close of the reporting period, and Moccia’s committee had $3,050.
Ridgefield for Rudy reported $39,520 in contributions from individuals, and $2,800 in “other monetary receipts” — the $2,800 being money returned from Brandmark Studios LLC, a vendor which supplied “social media management” services to the Marconi campaign.
Moccia 2019 reported a balance on hand of $9,720 in contributions from individuals, the $10,000 loan from candidate Dick Moccia, and $1,500 in “receipts from other committees” — with the donating committee listed as “CT GOP,” the state Republican Party.
Both campaigns listed considerable expenditures on social media.
The Moccia campaign’s lists $10,000 — in two payments of $5,000 each on Sept. 18 and Sept. 24 — paid to Image Works, a Vernon firm, for “digital production design.” Moccia 2019 also lists $225 paid to Wendy Mitchell of Ridgefield for “Facebook design” and $612 to Red November for “website design.”
And $612 was also paid to S.M. Cooper Photography for “photo for web.”
Other expenses listed by the Moccia 2019 committee were: $1,127 to Signs on the Cheap of Austin, Texas; $191 to Ad-Merica of Shelton for “signs;” $109 to Anedot of Baton Rouge, La. — a firm shown in the Better Business Bureau’s listings as “a fund-raising & donor tracking software platform;” $83 in fees paid to Fairfield County Bank in three payments $41, $38 and $4.
The Marconi campaign’s “itemized expenses” were: $3,000 listed as for “headquarters rent” in two payments of $1,500 each to the Ridgefield DTC (Democratic Town Committee), one on Sept. 1 and another on Sept. 23; $2,800 for “social media management” to Brandmark Studios LLC of Ridgefield; $2,607 for “food catering” to Peppino LLC of Ridgefield; $313 to Squash’s for office supplies; $838 to “Barker Advertising Specialty in two payments of $186 and $652.
Tom Madden, treasurer of the Marconi campaign, said more bills were anticipated from services ranging from website management to sign printing, and would likely use up much of roughly $29,000 balance shown for the reporting period that ended Oct. 27.
“By the end of October, we’d taken in virtually all of the contributions though we hadn’t been billed for anywhere near all of the expenses,” Madden said.
“...It is very unlikely that there will be any more money left over,” he said, though there might be “a small amount to be sent to the DTC to cover our share of the utility costs for HQ.”
Asked how money left over after all the bills are paid might be distributed, Madden said: “In the past all extra funds were donated to local 501c-3’s. Absolutely no money in Rudy’s campaign ever goes to the state party. On the occasions that Rudy’s campaign has had any extra funds, they have always been donated back to the community via charitable contributions.”
The Moccia campaign, with a balance of a little over $3,000, and a $10,000 loan to pay back, seems likely to do more fund raising, perhaps in collaboration with the Republican Town Committee, said Bob Cascella, treasurer of ‘Moccia 2019.’
“That’s a work in progress,” Cascella said.
Moccia 2019 listed $21,220 in donations, with 24 contributors giving amounts from $1,500 down to $25.
The Moccia campaign listed two contributions of $1,000 or more — $1,500 from CT GOP of Southington and $1,000 from David Kelsey of Old Lyme, described in the listings as an investment manager with Hamilton Point.
Marconi’s Ridgefield for Rudy committee reported $42,320 in fund raising from 57 contributors who gave amounts from $1,000 down to $15.
Marconi’s committee listed 23 individuals who contributed $1,000 — all but two of them Rigefielders.
Marconi’s $1,000 contributors were listed as: Denis Nayden and Britta Nayden of Jupiter, Fla., and 21 Ridgefielders. Those 21 residents were: Allison Stockel, Mary Buckwalter, Lori Berisford, Rudy Ruggles, Sara Ruggles, Margaret Marconi, Gerri Lewis, Betsy Brand, Suzanne Scanlon, Daniel Rabinowicz, Lawrence Bossidy, Robert Burke, Vanessa Diebold, Anita Donofrio, Cynthia Bell-Bucha, Paul Bucha, L. Kevin Cox, Elaine Cox, Jeff Butcher, Richard Jabara, and Richard Kalreiss.
The campaign contribution forms concerning major donors ask several questions to see whether money is coming from lobbyists, people related to lobbyists, or people who do business with either the municipality or the state. None of the $1,000 contributors to either Marconi or Moccia responded “yes” to those questions.
The campaigns have another filing due Jan. 10 for the period from the Oct. 27 filing deadline through the end of the year, Dec. 31. And their final filings, covering through March 31, 2020, are due April 7, 2020.
Figures reported in this story are rounded to the nearest dollar.