Friday, December 5, 2008

Money Squawks

Financial reports were filed yesterday for the mayoral races in Fayetteville and Springdale, and there were a couple of surprises. The first is that Springdale Mayor-elect Doug Sprouse, bankrolled "in large part by dollars from poultry giants Tyson Foods Inc., George’s Inc. and their executives," only spent $40,531 for the general election. The second departure from conventional wisdom was that his closest opponet, Alderman Mike Overton, spent $66,681 and got fewer votes on November 4th. Sprouse received 5,561 votes, spending $7.28 per vote, while Overton garnered 3,809 votes at a cost of a whopping $17.50 spent per vote. It is likely that the run-off reports will sing the second verse of the same song for that election, in which Sprouse defeated Overton by 3,761 to 2,248.

In Fayetteville, incumbent Mayor Dan Coody raised $66,716, mostly from developers and related groups, and reported spending $58,498 for the general election. Alderman Lioneld Jordan raised only $25,559 and spent $25,018. In that first election, Coody got 9,817 votes at an average cost of $6.80 per vote, while Jordan received 7,387 votes and spent $3.46 per vote. Later this month, final reports for the November 25th Run-Off Election are expected to tell a similar tale, and an unusual one where a candidate with the dual advantages of incumbancy and twice as much money gets beat by a challenger with 57.3%, a tally of 5,803 to 4,321.

What's up with this, anyway? Cannot money still buy elections?

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