Kelsey Kilgore’s campaign ranks most expensive at $1,125

Original: The Cavalier Daily  February 28, 2017

Student candidates spent less than half of what they were anticipating on recent University elections, according to the final campaign expenditure report released by the University Board of Elections Monday. In an interim campaign expenditure report, candidates had anticipated spending a total of nearly $6,800. The final expenditure report, however, shows candidates actually spent $3,343.64.

Candidates were mandated to submit their final expenditure reports by Feb. 24 — the day after the voting period concluded. The report asked students to list itemized expenses and sources of funding.

Approximately 56 percent of those who reported their expenditures spent nothing on their campaign — a stark contrast to former Student Council presidential candidate and third-year Batten student Kelsey Kilgore who spent the highest amount at $1,225.

The amount she spent was lower than her original predicted costs of $2,490 which were included in the interim campaign expenditure report.

Kilgore’s largest reported expenses were $300 for food and $300 for t-shirts.

Kilgore listed a sole donor on the expenditure report, her father, former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. He donated $525 to her campaign.

Recently elected Student Council President and third-year College student Sarah Kenny also received donations from other students campaigning. She noted donations from second-year College student and newly-elected Student Council Vice President for Administration Alex Cintron, who provided $25 for handbills and chalk, and third-year College student David Birkenthal, who provided $30 for handbills.

Kenny spent more on her campaign than originally predicted. Overall, Kenny spent $337, which was $137 more than originally projected to spend.

Kenny’s largest expenditures were $150 for posters and $127 for handbills.

In a previous interview with the Cavalier Daily, Kenny said she would end up spending more than she had projected in the interim report because she needed to compete with the high amount of money Kilgore was spending.

“The significantly disproportionate sums of money that my opponent and I were working with caused me both stress and frustration about the structure of campaign finance policies throughout the election,” Kenny said in an email to The Cavalier Daily on Tuesday. “However, I am looking forward to furthering the conversations that are already developing out of this story regarding substantial mechanisms to curb campaign spending.”

Kenny noted that high spending has occurred in past elections — she specifically cited a candidate who spent nearly $2,300 in 2012 — and said other colleges have used grants, shorter campaign windows and restrictions on campaign materials to limit the money spent on elections.

Some candidates such as second-year College students Ty Zirkle and Cintron ran joint campaigns and reported their finances together. The pair ran for Student Council vice president for organizations and vice president for administration, respectively.

“As Ty Zirkle and I ran a joint campaign, we have each reported one half of the materials we purchased in total, reflecting how much we paid as individuals,” Cintron said in the expenditure report.

Other notable differences between the interim and final expenditure statements included that of newly-elected Engineering Council Vice President Mary-Michael Robertson. She spent $152.84, which was $127.84 more than her previously predicted budget of $25.

In addition to Kilgore, Kenny and Robertson, second-year College students Galen Green and Rebecca Soistmann rounded out the top five most expensive campaigns by spending $171 and $113.11 on their successful campaigns for Third Year Council president and vice president, respectively.

Common campaign expenses included included fliers, chalk, materials for photocopying, balloons, posters, signs and photography.

Nine students who ran never submitted their final expenses to UBE. Out of the nine students who did not provide the details of their final expenses, three were running for Student Council positions and two were seeking Honor Committee positions.

Kilgore and UBE chair and third-year College student Casey Schmidt did not return requests for comment Tuesday evening.

This article has been updated to include Kenny’s comments.