O’Reilly tops spending list in 2018 civic election

In total, council candidates doled out $121,000 in bid for ballots

Mayor Ken Christian spent a fraction of what was financed on other mayoral runs, while Ray Dhaliwal spent the least and Mike O’Reilly spent the most during the 2018 civic election, according to financial disclosure reports released by Elections BC.

In the mayor’s race, Christian spent about a buck a vote ($17,190 for his 17,330 votes received).

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By comparison, Peter Milobar spent $37,000 in his 2014 mayoral campaign.

Christian received $9,080 in campaign contributions on top of fundraising efforts and $3,760 in campaign funds left over from the 2017 byelection, when he raised more than he spent and the city held the funds in trust for a potential future run.

Christian’s most significant donor in 2018 was local restaurant owner Paul Vinepal, who contributed $1,000.

Other donors included Wayne Watts, Elmer Epp, David Charchuk, Paul Thind and Frank Quinn, all of whom contributed $500. Quinn, a local developer, also contributed financially to multiple other candidates: Dale Bass ($1,200), O’Reilly ($1,200) and Dieter Dudy ($500), all of whom were either elected or re-elected.

Christian spent $6,310 less in the civic election than he did in the 2017 byelection, when he spent $23,500.

In 2017, five others campaigned for the mayor’s chair, compared to only one competitor in 2018 — William Turnbull, who spent $3,250 and received 13 per cent of the vote, with 2,670 votes.

The candidate who spent the least during the 2018 civic election was Dhaliwal. His self-funded campaign cost $200 and did not provide him with enough votes to be re-elected, despite winning one of two council seats in the 2017 byelection.

Dhaliwal finished 730 votes behind Bill Sarai, who secured the eighth and final council seat in October’s election.

Kathy Sinclair was the lone other councillor to be elected in the byelection and she was re-elected in 2018, after spending more than double for her re-election bid, at $19,120 compared to $9,420 in 2017.

It seemingly paid off because Sinclair received the second-most votes of any councillor, 10,810, and outpaced fellow councillors with more experience, Dudy and DenisWalsh, who spent a fraction of that, at $6,370 and $5,010, respectively.

Kamloops voters elected four new city councillors in 2018: Bass, Sadie Hunter, O’Reilly and Sarai, with a total of $51,300 spent to usher in change.

Hunter spent the least of the newly elected councillors, $7,590, while O’Reilly spent the most, $23,280. O’Reilly spent the most, in fact, of any candidate in 2018, $5,875 short of his $29,150 expense limit and outspending the mayor by more than $6,000 and the next council candidate — Arjun Singh, who was re-elected — by $1,700.

O’Reilly’s campaign contributors included Brandon Lolli, Gary Reed and Jeff Arnold of A&T Project Developments Inc., Evan Clark, Dave Zirnhelt, Russ Herman, Ryan Gentile and Catherine Quinn, all of whom contributed $1,200.

By comparison, O’Reilly spent $19,860 on his failed election bid in the 2015 civic election, when he placed 10th.

Meanwhile, Singh spent $21,580 and received the most votes out of any councillor, with 12,200, or about nine per cent of the votes. Singh spent about $1.77 per vote. As for campaign contributions, he received $9,750, including $600 from Colin Lyons and $500 each from Adam Miron, David Marr, Aaron Glover, Karl Stegman and Cheryl Kabloona.

Two-term city councillor Donovan Cavers was financially backed by past and current councillors Pat Wallace ($100) and Arjun Singh ($150) for his re-election bid and spent a total of $9,960, which did not secure his re-election. Cavers placed 13th in the council race and is now working toward becoming a teacher.

Overall, the current council spent about $120,600 during the campaign.

Other notable donors in 2018 included proportional-representation advocate Giesla Ruckert, who contributed to Cavers, Sinclair and Singh; Kelson Group vice-president of operations Jason Fawcett, who gave to Gerald Watson; and Kamloops-North Thompson NDP president Michael Crawford, who contributed to Jennifer Adams, Nicholas Adams, Bass, Christopher Bose, Alison Klie and Walsh.

Who spent what in last fall’s civic election (winners in bold):

Mayor’s race

  • Ken Christian: $17,190
  • William Turnbull: $3,250

Councillor candidates

  • Mike O’Reilly: $23,280
  • Arjun Singh: $21,580
  • Kathy Sinclair: $19,120
  • Bill Sarai: $12,820
  • Donovan Cavers: $9,960
  • Dale Bass: $7,630
  • Sadie Hunter: $7,590
  • Gerald Watson: $6,800
  • Dieter Dudy: $6,370
  • Denis Walsh: $5,010
  • Stephen Karpuk: $4,360
  • Caroline King: $4,250
  • Nicholas Adams: $2,930
  • Dennis Giesbrecht: $2,880
  • Corally Delwo: $2,720
  • Christopher Bose: $2,540
  • Jennifer Adams: $1,740
  • Jimmy Johal: $1,270
  • Alison Klie: $1,270
  • Shawn Harnett: $590
  • Ray Dhaliwal: $200

Editor's Note: This story has been edited. It originally included Kelson Group owner Ron Fawcett as having donated to a campaign. In fact, that donation — $1,200 to candidate Gerald Watson — was made by Jason Fawcett, son of Ron and Kelson Group vice-president of operations.

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