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Which Guy’s the Rich Guy? Rapid City Mayoral Race Contributions

Mr. Sanborn's class warfare argument on the Hanks-vs.-Kooiker mayoral contest in Rapid City got me wondering not just who's voting for whom but who's donating to whom. The Rapid City Journal covered this topic pre-election as did Emilie Rusch on the RCJ City Hallways blog.

Here are some other slices of the data from the Rapid City campaign finance reports on file thus far:

Hanks Kooiker
total contributions $59,144 $50,765
amount raised in small contributions ($100 or less) $19,321 $17,605
small contributions as % of total 33% 35%
amount in large contributions (over $100) $27,323 $32,410
large contributions as % of total 46% 64%
# of itemized contributions 85 70
average itemized contribution $321 $463
PAC contributions $12,500 $750
PAC contributions as % of total 21% 1%

Dang, it costs a lot to be mayor... and these figures don't include the last week before the citywide election or the run-off campaign currently underway.

Note that if we're trying to figure out whom the rich guys favor, these data leave an unclear picture. Mayor Hanks enjoys a lead in contributions entirely due to the largesse of two rich guys, Stan Adelstein and Ray Hillenbrand, who pumped $10,000 into the Hanks campaign through the Moderate Leadership PAC. Senator Adelstein and Mr. Hillenbrand also wrote Hanks checks from their own pockets. So on PAC dollars, Hanks has the rich-guy edge.

On itemizable donations (individuals contributing over $100), Sam Kooiker has the lead by over $5000. But count heads: Mayor Hanks has drawn 85 such donors, while Councilman Kooiker has 70. Kooiker's big checks average $463. Hanks's big donors are tighter, handing over $321 a pop. Individual donations are arguably a more democratic measure of support than PAC money. But on average contribution size, Kooiker appears to have the rich-guy edge.

At the bottom of the totem pole, Hanks has drawn about $1700 more in small contributions than Kooiker. Percentage-wise, Kooiker is just slightly better than Hanks on this metric: 35% of Kooiker's kitty is one-at-a-time Bens, Ulies, and Andies, compared to 33% of Hanks's haul.

Either way, if you're worried that big money will take the mayor's office in Rapid City, well, you lost that battle last week. Hanks and Kooiker combined outspent challengers Ron Weifenbach and Peter Wernicke almost 11 to 1.


  1. Barry G Wick 2011.06.13

    Collecting as much money to run for the job that pays that much money per year....I only wish we could do that for the President and other office holders...At $400,000 to run for President, that's about a $500 million dollars short of what it actually costs now.

  2. Cory,
    I put it out there for discussion. A lot more people voted than contributed to any candidate. My analysis was that of the people voting, those in the wealthiest neighborhoods favored Hanks. I asked the question, I did not declare the answer.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.06.14

    Thank you, Michael, for putting it out there for discussion. Campaign finance is always worth some conversation!

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