Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman has amassed a war chest of almost $80,000 to wage a campaign against no one.
Yet none of seven candidates for the City Council has raised that much, even as they must work much harder to get votes for just three seats up in the March 11 election.
Campaign finance records released this week show a wide range of fundraising, including one account of less than $2,000.
Hallman acknowledged he’s got more money than is needed for an uncontested election.
Although Tempe Corona del Sol High School student Derek Lull filed Monday to be eligible as a write-in candidate, no named opponent will appear on the mayoral ballot.
But Hallman said elected officials always assume they’ll face a credible challenge and start raising funds early.
“There’s only one way to run for office, and that’s run scared,” Hallman said.
He started raising money a year ago because of rumblings others were going to run, but Hallman said he slowed his efforts when the December deadline to qualify passed and nobody decided to mount a challenge.
Still, he filmed a TV commercial and posted signs across the city featuring his picture.
He already committed to some of that before the deadline, he said, though he did scale back some efforts once he knew only his name would be on the ballot.
One big change from his last campaign is mailings. He made 13, though nobody got every one of those because different ones targeted different constituencies.
This year, Hallman has one mailing. He’s developed an extensive Web site, he said, to get out his message without producing as many mailings that might just get tossed in the trash.
Incumbents Hut Hutson and Mark Mitchell raised the most among council candidates, with $55,650 and $45,568, respectively.
Corey Woods is making a second run for the council and has sharpened his fundraising abilities since his unsuccessful campaign two years ago.
At this point in the previous election, he had raised just $3,900 — the least of anybody in that race. Now, he’s got nearly $25,000.
Julie Jakubek has raised the least so far, just $1,815. Jakubek said that’s because she waited to raise funds until she knew she qualified to get on the ballot, and that she’s about to have fundraisers now that should put her closer in line with other candidates.
Jakubek wants to raise $20,000. She said her strategy won’t rely on expensive TV commercials or heavy use of expensive mailings.
The insurance agency owner said she’ll run a frugal campaign, somewhat like she runs her business.
She’ll reach out to voters at events and through building networks.
“I get business by referral,” Jakubek said. “It’s the same type of thing (in the campaign). If somebody tells somebody else to vote for you, it’s free.”