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Published Sunday, May 04, 2008 6:16 AM

Campaign's cost $67,500

Six candidates vying for seats on the College Station City Council have collectively shelled out more than $67,500 on their campaigns, according to paperwork filed last week with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Seeking the council's Place 1 seat are John Crompton and Derek Dictson. Dennis Maloney is challenging Ron Gay for the Place 3 post, and Larry Stewart is vying against Chris Scotti for Place 5.

The election is Saturday.

Place 1 candidates Crompton and Dictson have proved to be the biggest spenders, each disbursing more than $12,000 during a monthlong filing period that ended Friday.

Crompton, the incumbent, has spent $13,338 since his campaign began in February. Dictson's campaign has cost about $20,625.

Crompton and Dictson have raised $11,419 and $17,085, respectively.

"You've got six candidates running citywide elections," Dictson said Friday when asked about the ever-increasing campaign costs. "It's expensive if you want to get a message out. I'm not an incumbent, so I've got to let people know my positions and what I'm going to do if elected."

Crompton, who could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, has said that although elections can be costly, it was "sweat equity" -- knocking on doors and promoting a record of community service -- that got him elected last year.

The Texas A&M University professor received contributions from several of his colleagues at the university, according to his report filed Friday.

Dictson, along with Gay and Scotti, received a $1,000 contribution from the Texas Association of Realtors Political Action Committee. Other contributors to Dictson's campaign included Texas World Speedway owner Bill Mather, developer Steve Arden and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Marsha Sanford.

In the Place 3 race, Gay has raised about $11,817 and spent about $11,944 since he filed for re-election. In the past month, the candidate has collected about $5,517. Donations came from engineer Veronica Morgan, builder and College Station school board member Randall Pitcock and commercial real estate broker Fain McDougal.

Maloney brought in about $3,100 in the past month, bringing his campaign fund to more than $8,000. The candidate has spent about $8,400 since he filed to seek office. Recent contributions to the Maloney campaign came from local attorney Jim James, former Councilwoman Susan Lancaster and retired Texas A&M professor Don Hellriegel.

Place 5 candidate Stewart continues to trail the other candidates in fundraising. He received about $2,829 in the most recent filing period, bringing his contributions to $5,508. He's spent about $5,400 since he filed to seek office.

"People told me when I decided to run that you have to spend at least $5,000 to even begin to compete," Stewart said. "I think that's pretty accurate. There's a high cost of signs and advertising. Every time you hear an ad from the competition, you think, 'That cost four figures.' You just have to keep at it."

Scotti, Stewart's opponent, has spent about $7,800. He received about $8,402 in contributions during the most recent filing period, bringing his campaign fund to more than $14,000.

Scotti accepted recent donations from Aggieland Outfitters owner Fadi Kalaouze, former Bryan Mayor Ron Blatchley and Bryan Texas Utilities Group Manager Kean Register.

"I'm proud that my funding has come from pretty diverse sources," Scotti said Saturday. "We had lots of small donations, and that's the way I'd prefer it because I think it shows widespread support."

The cost of a municipal election is only one problem candidates face. Another difficulty is mobilizing voters to go to the polls, hopefuls said last week.

"We're just really trying to get people out to vote," Dictson said Friday. "It's unfortunate that our City Council is elected by less than 10 percent of the voters."

Campaign finance reports also were due in Bryan last week, where just one City Council race is contested. Single Member District 3 Councilman Jason Bienski collected $2,825 for his campaign in the past month, including a $1,000 donation from the Texas Association of Realtors Political Action Committee. His campaign fund totals about $3,325, and he's spent $750 to date.

Bienski's opponent, Kevin Davenport, did not turn in a campaign finance report. During the last filing period, the first-time candidate reported that he did not accept any donations and spent about $300.

• April Avison's e-mail address is april.avison@theeagle.com.


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Posted by: Gina On: 5/4/2008

Comment Title: two different ways of trying to achieve equality for same-sex couples
For almost four decades the lesbian/gay community has had two different ways of trying to achieve equality for same-sex couples. One way was to achieve same-sex marriage (I know some successful examples from the online service BiLoves.com); the other way was to achieve the rights of marriage. Mostly, theses two efforts have had different goals, strategies and motivations.
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