One can never draw a direct correlation between election spending and the results at the ballot box, but it turns out that for Sooke’s latest byelection the winner, Dana Lajeunesse, was the candidate who. in fact, spent the most on his campaign.
Information made public by Elections B.C. shows that Lajeunesse outspent his rivals by a considerable margin, reporting a total of $3,884.66 in expenditures for his campaign.
The next highest spender in the campaign that saw 10 candidates throw their hat in the ring was Britt Santowski. She reported an expenditure of $2,570.76 but, although she did manage to come close to Lajeunesse in the final vote count (265 to Lajeunesse’s 286), she was not the second place candidate in the byelection.
That honour went to Kevin Pearson, who despite spending only about a third of that spent by Lajeunesse’s campaign ($1,215), managed to come a close second with 283 votes cast in his favour.
Jeff Stewart, who rounded out the front runners in the byelection with 262 votes, three less than Santowski and 21 fewer than Pearson, spent only $787 on his campaign.
Other candidates in the byelection did not garner as many votes, despite spending amounts that were similar to the frontrunners.
Christina Schlattner, for example, had 160 votes cast for her despite spending $958 on her run for office.
Lorraine Pawlivsky-Love, on the other hand, got only 36 votes despite spending $1,095 on her campaign.
On the low end of the reported expenditures, Mick Rhodes spent only $287 and received 13 votes while Herb Haldane garnered 82 votes while spending exactly zero dollars on his run for district council.
Two final candidates, Jeff McArthur and Kenneth Robar, made it clear before voting day that they had decided to withdraw from the race, although they had missed the withdrawal date.
McArthur reported an $8 expenditure, while Robar has still not submitted an expense form.
Under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, disclosure statements must be filed with B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer within 90 days after General Voting Day. The filing deadline for the 2019 Sooke byelection was 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2019. The statements include expenses of each filer and information regarding contributions they received.
By not meeting the deadline, Robar will be fined a late filing fee of $500 if he files by the late filing deadline of Jan. 27.