The first campaign contribution documents in the 2012 Montclair municipal elections have been made public, and a few donations caught our eye. For one thing, local developer Steve Plofker donated $500 to each of the three slates. We guess he is hedging his bets.
Montclair 2012 has raised
the most of any slate (just over $35K and it has also spent the most (nearly $30K, mostly on consulting fees). By comparison, For Montclair raised just over $18,000 — $10K from Mayoral candidate Harvey Susswein alone — and spent just over $10,000, while Real Progress Montclair has taken in $37,600 and spent only $14,000.
In addition, a few of Montclair 2012’s donations have raised eyebrows in rival camps, including two $2,500 donors from out of state (CA and OK). Also, the PCEA (Passaic County Education Association) PAC gave $1,000. As Sean Spiller is head of a teacher’s union himself (in Wayne), opponents have wondered if that will impact his ability to negotiate against town employees. (Then there is the question of why a Passaic county organization is donating to an election in Essex County.)
In addition to Plofker, local developer Michael Ambrosi of ARC Properties, which is developing Lackawanna Center, gave the campaign $2,500. Also, the Election Fund of Brendan Gill gave $1000. Competing camps have said the Montclair 2012 slate seems hand picked by the local Democratic party; as Gill chairs that party, this donation has fueled that suspicion.
Over at For Montclair, the donor list contains many names familiar to the local political scene, including former council member Don Zief ($2,000) and former Mayor Ed Remsen ($500). Again, Susswein himself put in ten grand — the largest amount by far that any candidate has donated to his or her own slate.
Meanwhile, RPM candidates are nearly keeping their own campaign afloat, with three of the candidates putting in nearly a third of the total donations: Leann Carlson ($5,000), Chris Swenson ($6,000) and Peter Zorich ($2,500).
Baristanet has reached out to the Montclair 2012 slate for comment; we will add to the story as we learn more.
Updated with response from the Montclair 2012 slate:
It’s gratifying when colleagues and friends give in a tangible way, like PCEA PAC’s support of Sean Spiller, a teacher in Passaic County. Rich Murnick has out-of-state friends and family, and two from out West kicked in. And we are thrilled Brendan Gill is supporting us. He and his family are pillars of the Montclair community. We’re delighted people think Robert Jackson and our Montclair 2012 slate are the best way to move this town forward.