BC Liberal candidate spent big cash in byelection

Candidates spent thousands of dollars in the April 19 byelection in Port Moody-Coquitlam, according to expense reports filed with Elections BC. - FILE
Candidates spent thousands of dollars in the April 19 byelection in Port Moody-Coquitlam, according to expense reports filed with Elections BC.
— image credit: FILE

Election campaign fundraising and expenses released this week for the Port Moody-Coquitlam byelection paint a picture of cash-rich political parties battling upstart challengers for voter support.

But the winner of the spring vote has yet to file campaign expense documents.

Former Port Moody Joe Trasolini handily won the April 19 by election with 54.4% of the popular vote but his candidate expenses are not available because of extenuating circumstances, according to Elections BC.

A spokesman for the BC NDP said the extension was needed to give the volunteer financial agent enough time to pull together the information and is not an unusual occurrence for expense reports.

However, expense reports filed by losing BC Liberal candidate Dennis Marsden show just how high the stakes were for the BC Liberals and how desperately the party led by Christy Clark wanted to keep the seat formerly held by Iain Black.

According to the expense reports filed last Tuesday and made available today, Marsden's campaign spent $95,639 before and during the campaign, with most of the money coming from BC Liberal coffers.

Marsden polled 30.24% of the 11,167 votes cast, spending roughly $28 per winning vote.

In contrast, BC Conservative candidate Christine Clarke spent $21,847 for 15.36% of the popular vote or about $13 for each successful vote.

Meanwhile, Trasolini has been given until Aug. 3 to file his campaign expenditures.

Candidates didn't raise very much cash from local donors and, as a result, most of the money for the BC Liberal and BC Conservative campaigns came from the provincial parties — $93,236 and $19,260 respectively.

According to audited financial statements, Marsden collected $2,154 from local individuals and corporations while Clarke received $1,329 from individuals and corporations.

Rent, office supplies, professional services, research and polling accounted for most of the campaign expenditures for both parties. Clarke spent about $2,321 for research and polling services, among her largest campaign expenses, while Marsden's campaign spent $20,236 on telecommunications including phone bank calling.


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