Mike Wilson raised $26,490 in 2018 to get 1,772 votes

(City of Indio)

Mike Wilson, who has asked for a recount after losing his reelection bid against Waymond Fermon in the election to represent Indio’s 2nd District in the City Council, raised substantially more money than his opponent this year, according to the Desert Sun – with his campaign able to spend nearly $15 per voter, possibly more if you factor in money raised prior to 2018.

Nicole Hayden and Amy DiPierro of the newspaper did a fantastic job of analyzing campaign contributions through filings and it is definitely worth a read if you want to see what is really going on in Indio – be sure to check it out here).  Here’s just a taste:

The amount of money candidates raised is wide-ranging. Glenn Miller raised the most over the five years period with a total of $113,765. Mike Wilson was the second top fundraiser with $58,570 raised.

In just 2018, Wilson raised $26,490 but was defeated by Fermon’s $7,210 pot of funds. However, Fermon has a California Fair Political Practices Commission investigation open against him regarding his campaign finance disclosures. FPPC officials won’t provide further detail until the investigation is complete.

Over $100,000 for Miller for a city council seat sure seems like an awful lot, yeah? So does Wilson’s nearly $60,000. Wilson did tell the newspaper back in October that campaign contributions have never been a deciding factor in his decision-making process – even though a huge chunk came from real estate developers, Harold Matzner (who seems to be really terrible at picking winning candidates to contribute his endless cash supply to), and political action committees.  We will just have to take him at his word.

Oh, by the way, the first day of the recount costed over $2,600 – either Wilson or his campaign will have to pay for the entire cost – with the campaign still having over 9,000 in the bank – which seems like quite the luxury for a city council candidate and more than Fermon had to spend the entire election.

And while it may seem tough for anyone to compete with incumbents so well connected to an easy pipeline of campaign money, Indio’s switch to District Elections have made it easier for a candidate like Fermon to compete, despite having a substantially smaller campaign war chest as Wilson.   Note: It does help when your opponent is terrible at social media and admits they have no idea what is going on in the city.

Rather than having to buy yard signs and advertising to cover the entire city, now candidates can focus their attention on a portion of the city and, hopefully, represent the needs of all the people in that district rather than just the fat cats and Super PACS who can throw down $5,000 every couple of years.