West Kelowna  

Election shows you don't have to spend big to earn votes in the Okanagan

Can't buy a seat on council

If the October municipal election showed anything, it re-enforced the notion that spending big doesn't mean winning big.

Or in other terms, you can't always buy your way onto city council.

Case in point, Tom Dyas raised about $25,000 less than incumbent mayor Colin Basran in October but won every poll in a landslide victory three months ago.

In West Kelowna, the top two spenders and three of the top five in the race for six council seats all went down to defeat, according to financial declarations released Thursday by Elections BC.

Rusty Ensign, who lost a bid for re-election in 2018 after one term on council raised more that $9,800 and spent $12,873 in a failed attempt to regain his seat in October.

Outgoing funds included nearly $5,600 in promotional materials and newspaper ads and a valuation of $3,000 in reused signs. He finished ninth.

Tom Groat, who finished just one vote shy of the final seat according to city totals, raised $6,393 and spent the second most among the 13 candidates, $10,614. Nearly $7,800 of that was spent on signs.

Anthony Bastiaanssen also got very little bang for his buck. He spent $7,185 in order to gain 1,333 votes - 11th in the field.

Incumbent Stephen Johnston, who topped the polls declared spending only $6,397, most of which went to signs, promotional materials and website displays.

Mayor Gord Milsom raised $9,708 and spent $17,708 to get re-elected. Most of that, $12,900 went to declared value of re-used signs, his campaign kickoff and victory celebration.

His challenger, Peachland resident Andrew Kwzaczynski declared nothing, raised or spent.

In Peachland, newly elected mayor Patrick Van Minsel raised $9,000, and spent $87,87 on his campaign. Most of that ($7,800) went toward newspaper ads and promotional materials.

Incumbent Cindy Fortin, who finished well back in the race, spent just $3,841, more than half of that ($2,000) on newspaper ads.

Councillors Randey Brophy, Terry Condon and Rick Ingram, who finished as the top three vote getters also spent the most on their campaigns.

Newcomer Alena Glasman, who took the final seat on council, spent just $190, most of that for a social function.

In Lake Country, councillor-at-large Michael Lewis outpaced all other candidates, spending more than the other six candidates combined.

Lewis raised $4,000 and spent $7,350, mostly on newspaper ads and signs.

Bib Patel who took the other at-large seat spent $1,600 while the third candidate Bill Scarrow didn't spend anything on his failed campaign.

Tricia Brett spent $2,772 in winning the Okanagan Centre ward while unsuccessful candidate Riley Hastings spent $1,040.

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