By Brian Wheeler

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, October 20, 2011

With less than three weeks until Election Day, candidates for Charlottesville City Council are

reporting their most recent campaign contributions

. Three Democratic nominees are outpacing four independent candidates by a margin of almost eight-to-one.

Democrat Kathy Galvin leads all council candidates, having raised $14,553. Almost three-fourths of those donations came before the Aug. 20 Democratic firehouse primary. Democrat Dede Smith follows with $11,701, two-thirds of which was raised before the primary. Democrat Satyendra Huja, the only incumbent in the race, has raised $10,527.

On Monday, candidates were required to report to the State Board of Elections all financial activity occurring between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Finance reports are published online by the

Virginia Public Access Project

. The next reports are due Oct. 31, the last disclosures in advance of the Nov. 8 election.

While the Democratic candidates raised most of their money before the primary, independent challenger Bob Fenwick has done the opposite, banking $1,299 in the last two reporting periods, 61 percent of his $2,127 campaign total.

“The slogan is ‘Money is the mother’s milk of politics,’” said Fenwick.  “It certainly is important for flyers, radio, and television.”

Fenwick said he was surprised at the total amount of money being raised by the Democrats, but expressed optimism about how he is conducting his campaign.

“As an underdog independent, I have had to rely on public appearances and forums, and hammer the issues there,” Fenwick said.  “You do what you can, and play the game the way it is played.”

After Fenwick, independent Brandon Collins has raised the next largest amount with $1,679.

Among the remaining independent candidates, Scott Bandy has raised $480 and Andrew Williams has raised $336.

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