The Austin Chronicle

The Donors Behind the Dough

By Wells Dunbar, June 17, 2011, News

Campaign finance reports are in for the Place 3 run-off between Randi Shade and Kathie Tovo, with results mirroring fundraising matters in general: Shade rakes in cash with assistance from a bevy of bundlers, while Tovo remains competitive thanks to some major windfalls.

In reports submitted June 10, Shade announced nearly $148,000 raised. As in earlier reports, many contributions came bundled by benefactors, largely from the development and business communities. The eight bundlers named include attorney David Arm­brust with $25,000, attorney Nikelle Meade, Jeff New­berg of Endeavor Real Estate Group, and Laurie Swan of Stratus Prop­erties. Austin Yellow Cab General Manager Ed Kargbo also solicited contributions on Shade's behalf.

The filing also notes contributions to Shade's campaign on behalf of the public safety unions and direct campaign expenditures made "without the candidate's prior consent or approval" from several West Sixth Street bars, including Little Wood­row's and Opal Divines, which briefly offered happy hour pricing and poll rides in a get-out-the-vote campaign designed to benefit Shade. Individual contributors include Oak Hill neighborhood activist Sandy Baldridge, Bal­cones Resources CEO Kerry Getter, and Planning Commis­sion Chair Dave Sullivan, a Shade appointee.

Tovo tallied more than $128,000 in campaign funds. But like the self-loans that bolstered her campaign in the primary, half of that amount – $64,157 – came in one large chunk as a distribution of cash from the Austin Fair Campaign Finance Fund. (As the only Place 3 candidate to sign the "fair campaign" finance pledge, Tovo was eligible to receive the funding for her run-off despite exceeding the limitation on self-loans that would have been in place had another candidate signed the same pledge.)

The other half of Tovo's take – $64,092 – came in contributions. Prominent contributors include Save Our Springs Alliance attorney Bill Bunch, co-founder Brian Rodgers, and Texas Campaign for the Environment's Robin Schneider. Tovo also listed two bundlers: Meade, who also solicited for Shade, and Danette Chimenti, past Austin Neighborhoods Council president and Tovo's former colleague on the Planning Commission.

Randi Shade

Money In: $147,886

Money Out: $169,076

Notable Expenditures: $14,900 to Rick Perry pollster Mike Baselice; $3,500 to Republican organizer and anti-Obama tweeter Lucas Sheffield

Kathie Tovo

Money In: $128,248*

Money Out: $127,768

Notable Expenditures: $9,040 to Fort Worth polling firm the Tyson Organization; $3,000 to consultant Mark Yznaga

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