TAUNTON — Tuesday, Oct. 31, wasn’t just Halloween: It was also the due date for candidates in this year’s local election to submit campaign finance reports to the City Clerk’s office.
Of 45 candidates seeking a seat on the municipal council, school committee, zoning board of appeals, planning board or commission for Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant, just 17 submitted paper work indicating they had received contributions.
Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr. is running unopposed for a fourth two-year- term.
The nearly $18,000 raised on behalf of incumbent city councilor John McCaul, now running for a fourth term, topped the list in terms of amount.
The top donor to McCaul’s campaign was Brownstone Realty Group, a Raynham-based business whose owner is now developing a high-end restaurant and bar on Trescott Street.
Brownstone, which is also developing a residential project on Hart Street, made seven contributions totaling $2,400.
It’s principal and attorney, Raynham-based Thomas Ramondetta, contributed the maximum-allowed $1,000 personal contribution.
McCaul attributes his success in campaign contributions, not to the occasional larger donation, but by “going door to door” to promote himself.
“When you run an aggressive campaign you need the support of a lot of people,” he said.
Records indicate McCaul was left with a balance of $6,640 that can be used in the next election cycle.
Dennis Ackerman came in second with nearly $14,000 deposited in his campaign fund from the beginning of the year to Oct. 21.
Ackerman is running for a 12th term on the zoning board and as a challenger for a seat on the City Council.
He finished the year with a balance of $6,425 that went unspent and will be carried over to the next election cycle in 2019.
Ackerman also received $1,000 from Ramondetta and another $1,000 from a Rhode Island resident and car dealership owner.
City Council challenger Jeffrey Postell came in third with a campaign war chest of $8,358, with an ending balance of $2,700.
City Council incumbent David Pottier, running for a seventh term, made no effort to raise money this year.
“I decided to skip all the events and not hit people up. It’s hard asking people for money in these tough times,” he said.
Pottier has an ending balance for the year of $452. He also through his political life, which included a run for state senate, has spent $20,290 of his own money, according to his paper work.
Jordan Fiore, a longtime school committee member who is also running for reelection to the planning board, raised just over $1,100 in 2017.
Most of the money, he said, went for political ads in the Taunton Daily Gazette and for radio spots on Taunton’s WVBF station.
The single most expensive expenditure, Fiore says, was $600 to cater a fundraiser at the Lafayette Club. He also says he spent $60 on a cake marking his birthday that same day.
“I just wanted to show that I’m active,” he said.
Veteran city councilor Gerald Croteau spent no money promoting himself and collected no contributions this year, although he has spent $40,564 of his own money throughout his political career, which included an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2011 against Thomas Hoye.