Counting the Campaign Money: It's a Bundle

Incumbents rake it in with help from Armbrust

The spring City Council candidates' Jan. 15 campaign finance reports are in – and with Randi Shade, Laura Morrison, and Chris Riley collecting tens of thousands of dollars from megabundler David Armbrust, the incumbents got off to a brisk start.

In the Shade

Place 3 incumbent Shade leads the pack, reporting about $70,200 raised, $3,444 spent, and $68,592 cash on hand. Like her fellow incumbents, she named bundlers to collect donations on her behalf ... and like her fellow incumbents, Armbrust & Brown principal attorney David Armbrust came through as her fundraising MVP, bundling 38 contributions at the maximum $350 limit for a haul of $13,300. (This doesn't include contributions below the $350 cutoff, so Arm­brust's contribution is actually slightly larger.) Also bundling contributions on Shade's behalf were Cypress Real Estate Advisors chair and former Trammell Crow partner Stephen Clark and Jackson Walker LLP partner and past Real Estate Council of Austin Chair Tim Taylor.

Also contributing to Shade was Texas Dis­posal Systems principal Bob Gregory ($350) and other members of the TDS/Gregory collective, Alamo Drafthouse creators Tim and Karrie League ($125 each), developers Perry and Sheridan Lorenz ($350 each), Council Member Mike Martinez and wife/legislative aide Lara Wendler ($300 each), and in a gesture bestowed on all three incumbents, a whopping $25 each from development attorney Richard Suttle and wife Alison. Just under half of Shade's expenses take the form of a $1,500 check to Susan Harry for campaign consulting, the rest going to miscellaneous expenses.

The Morrison Connection

Place 4's Morrison reported $67,801 in contributions and just over $12,980 in expenditures, leaving $55,280 cash on hand. Bundling­wise, Armbrust did not disappoint, collecting 40 donations at the maximum limit, for a contribution of at least $14,000. Cypress' Clark also appears as bundler for Morrison, along with TDS' Gregory. Other $350 donors include Planning Commissioner Danette Chimenti, Save Our Springs Alliance's Colin Clark, FixAustin honcho Ryan Clinton, environmentalist Shudde Fath, city of Austin neighborhood liaison Carol Gibbs, Karrie League, Perry and Sheridan Lorenz, city music program manager Don Pitts, and Change Austin co-founder (and rumored Place 3 candidate) Brian Rod­gers. Morrison also lent $500 to her own campaign. Her expenses largely comprised payments to campaign staffers Jim Wick and former Chronicle Senior Editor Shawn Badgley.

The Riley Factor

Place 1's Riley reports $41,275 in contributions, just over $1,000 in expenditures, and just over $40,200 on hand. More than a third of that – $14,000 – arrived in the form of bundles from Armbrust (some 40 $350 contributions) and Cypress' Clark. Several familiar names are among the $350 contributors: Rodgers, Gregory, the Lorenzes, plus Bicycle Sport Shop owner Hill Abell and urbanist Jeb Boyt. All of Riley's spending aside from $175 for consulting fees has gone to office supplies.

The Challengers

Morrison's Place 4 challenger, Eric Rangel, reports nothing raised and $1,555 spent, more than $1,100 of it on an event at the Onion Creek Club. But other issues lurk in Rangel's filing; the candidate seemingly inadvertently filed a "Designation of Final Report" form, which terminates his campaign treasurer appointment and stops him from making any further campaign expenditures or accepting any contributions. The Rangel team e-mailed the Chronicle to say they "take full responsibility for the error and have taken the proper steps to correct this matter," and a correction affidavit is already on file with the city.

Josiah Ingalls, running against Riley in Place 1, reports $52.95 in expenditures, all from personal funds: $12.95 for Web hosting and $40 in a new bank account. Ingalls also filed a statement committing not to raise more than $30,000 – a pledge he shouldn't have any difficulty maintaining.

At least two other challengers (see "Council Challengers Take Their Marks") announced their candidacies after the Jan. 15 finance report deadline.

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City Council, election, Randi Shade, Laura Morrison, Chris Riley, David Armbrust

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