Politics: Even local races aren’t cheapThe economy as a whole may be in a slump, but one segment is doing quite well.
By: Jason Adkins DL-Online, Worthington Daily Globe
The economy as a whole may be in a slump, but one segment is doing quite well.
Well, at least for another two days.
Election advertising has done well or stayed the course this year despite the economic crisis that has seen a drop in the credit market in particular.
Jeff Leighton, General Manager of radio station KDLM, said that election advertising would account for about 15 percent of ad revenue for the month of October.
While there can be a temptation to make more money by playing more political ads, Leighton said that there are drawbacks with that approach.
“For us, you don’t want to turn off listeners with every other ad being a political ad,” Leighton said.
While the presidential race and the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota have raised record amounts of money – about $1 billion dollars for the presidential campaign and $30 million for the Senate race – local races have been more modest.
Instead of expensive ads on television, most local candidates opt for the tried-and-true yard signs and door hangers, plus placing newspaper and radio advertisements.
One candidate, Gerry Schram, who is seeking a Becker County Board seat in District 3, is running a modest campaign.
He said that he is spending close to $2,000, and that includes signs, door-hangers and fuel expenses to travel across his district.
Schram isn’t on the hook for that entire amount. There are people who are ready to help out.
“There are people who come up and give you checks,” Schram said.
Schram said the campaign cost more than he expected.
“I thought it would be less than that (the $2,000 mark),” he said.
Schram said he still thinks the money he has put into the campaign is helping his chances.
“It’s plenty to spend, but I feel it’s worth it,” Schram said.
Another aspect that forces Schram’s hand is being the challenger to an incumbent, Karen Mulari.
Schram said that since he is challenging an incumbent, he has more of a burden to get his name and positions out to the voters.
“It’s quite a bit of time if you’re not the incumbent,” Schram said.
Mulari said that’s she’s not having to pay as much out of pocket compared to her first run in 2004.
She said that she’s spent about $900 so far. About $700 in donations have come in for Mulari this campaign season.
“”People must think I’m doing a good job because they’re donating,” Mulari said.
Detroit Lakes mayoral candidate Matt Brenk is limiting his campaign to just signs, brochures and newspaper advertisement.
Brenk said that he would spend about what Schram is on the race. He doesn’t expect to pay much, if any, out of pocket on the campaign.
“I’ve had pretty good support from members of the community that would like to see me elected,” Brenk said.
One of his opponents, though, is opting for television commercials.
Jim Vareberg, running for Detroit Lakes’ open mayor spot, is buying ads on TV3, which is available on ACS cable.
His said that it’s a good way to get his message out.
“I think it helps,” Vareberg said. “There are a lot of older people who live in apartments that rely on TV3 for information.”
All in all, Vareberg said he would be spending between $4,000 and $5,000 on the race.
Most of it will be self-financed.
Bob Renney’s expenditures for Detroit Lakes’ mayoral race will be quite a bit lower than his opponents.
He said that he would spend between $450 and $500 on the campaign.
That places some limits on what Renney can do, but he said that isn’t affecting his campaign style.
“It’s not really a problem,” Renney said.
His goal is to go out and personally meet the voters.
“I knock on doors and go out and meet people,” Renney said.
Even the candidates aren’t sure how effective some of their campaign strategies are.
Schram said that while door hangers are relatively cheap, he fears they end up just getting thrown away without people really looking at what they have to say.
He added that face-to-face meetings are more valuable.
“It doesn’t do a lot of good when you go and leave a door hanger,” Schram said.