Ward 22 candidates campaign spending priorities
(Written Aug. 23 for Town Crier)
In the competitive St. Paul’s Ward 22 race, candidates seek any advantage they can gain over their opponents.
As of Aug. 23, candidate Chris Sellors was the only hopeful planning to open a campaign office. His storefront office opened Sept. 1 in a prime spot on Yonge Street at Belsize Drive.
Sellors said he started scanning empty stores in late March, but the first call he made was for a space at 1973 Yonge Street. The spot needed fixing up and was empty because it’s part of an eight-storey redevelopment project.
It’s here where Sellors plans to hold team meetings, and provide campaign literature, he said. It’s also a place where voters can access him.
“I was swift enough to look for a campaign office when everyone else was sleeping,” Sellors said Aug. 20.
Sellors repeatedly refused to disclose the price he’ll be paying when he signs a two-month lease starting September 1. But said it is over $1,250 and under $6,000 monthly.
“It’s the only affordable place on this strip. I know the neighbourhood enough to know it’s hard to get a place,” said Sellors, the former executive assistant to retiring councillor, Michael Walker.
Keeping costs down is a challenge when candidates have a maximum of about $37,500 they can spend on a campaign, said Ward 22 candidate Josh Matlow.
“Any available space around where (Chris) Sellors got his office, we got quotes of over $4,000 a month. All relative to the size he’s getting,” said Matlow. “We are looking for something that’s $2,000 or less.”
It’s a matter of balancing financial priorities.
Printing campaign literature is more important than a pricey office, Matlow said.
However, the candidate hasn’t ruled out a campaign office just yet.
“Given that I live on Duplex Avenue near Yonge and Eglinton, we might be able to have it at my house for eight weeks,” he said.
Candidate William Molls said he’s also trying to keep costs down. “My campaign is run out of my apartment,” he said Aug. 20.
“It’s very expensive to run in an election. We’re focusing spending on flyers, literature and signs we are hoping to put up soon,” Molls said.
While he doesn’t have the money for a campaign office, Molls said he’s getting by without one.
“I’ve been meeting people on the streets. They have my email and phone number and can get in touch with me that way,” he said. “I don’t feel a campaign office is necessary. We are doing fine without one.”